NBQX attenuates relapse of nicotine seeking but not nicotine and methamphetamine self-administration in rats

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Objective: Pharmacological manipulations of glutamatergic ionotropic receptors have been suggested as a promising target for addiction treatment. Antagonists of AMPA/kainate receptors were shown to reduce alcohol intake or alcohol-seeking in various animal models. In this study, we evaluated the effect of NBQX, an AMPA/kainate receptor antagonist, on methamphetamine (METH) and nicotine self-administration in rats. Methods: Male Wistar rats were trained to self-administer METH (0.08 mg/kg per infusion, session of 90 min) and nicotine (0.03 mg/kg per infusion, session of 60 min) under the fixed ratio 1 schedule of reinforcement. The maintenance training was 2 weeks. During the second week, NBQX was injected subcutaneously at doses of 5 or 10 mg/kg 20 min before the session or intravenously (IV) at doses of 1 and 5 mg/kg 10 min before the session. Following the maintenance training, rats were subjected to forced abstinence for 2 weeks and 1 day of the drug-free relapse-like session with IV NBQX treatment performed as before. Results: Although NBQX did not affect nicotine maintenance, it significantly suppressed the drug-paired responding in the relapse session. Regarding METH, NBQX did not exert a significant effect at either phase of the study. Conclusions: These findings suggest selective involvement of AMPA/kainate receptors in the relapse of nicotine seeking after a period of forced abstinence.

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