Relapse to drug use following periods of abstinence is a significant impediment in the long-termtreatment of cocaine dependence. Environmental stimuli or contexts previously associated with drug use orpriming doses of the abused drug can initiate relapse to compulsive drug-seeking and drug-takingbehaviors. The Animal Core B will provide all of the experimental subjects for every project in theNeurobiology of Addiction Research Center (NARC) that involves the use of the self-administration andrelapse model in rats. Rats will be catheterized and trained to self-administer intravenous (i.v.) cocaineusing standard schedules of drug reinforcement. After a stable period of self-administration, lever pressingfor drug will be extinguished to criterion, or animals may undergo abstinence. Subjects will then be directedtowards individual NARC projects for brain tissue extraction, electrophysiology, or assessment of behavioralresponding to systemic or site directed manipulations in accordance with the specific aims of each NARCproject.
The aims of Animal Core B can be summarized as:1. Provide experimental subjects to all projects in the NARC that are consistent and satisfy specific criteriawith regards to experience in drug self-administration and in the degree of withdrawal, extinction, and/orabstinence. The Animal Core will insure that subjects will be handled and treated according to allapproved animal use procedures and, in conjunction with vivarium staff, maintain appropriate animalhusbandry.2. Efficiently manage the distribution of animals to the different projects to insure that statistically relevantgroup sizes and group replications are made available to each project in a timely manner.3. Maintain a staff of well-trained technicians to efficiently generate experimental subjects using a balancedgroup design, as well as provide technical assistance to NARC Projects that will involve furtherbehavioral evaluation of drug-seeking behavior.4. Serve as a NARC training center for junior investigators who desire training in self-administration,jugular catheterization, operant conditioning methods, and other related experimental procedures.The NARC Animal Core will serve as the common foundation for all NARC projects. The results fromintegrated studies through the Animal Core will hopefully lead to useful pharmacotherapeutic agents for thetreatment of cocaine abuse and dependence.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Specialized Center (P50)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZDA1-RXL-E (02))
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Medical University of South Carolina
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