Heroin self-administration: I. Incubation of goal-directed behavior in rats

Kara L. Kuntz, Robert C. Twining, Anne E. Baldwin, Kent E. Vrana, Patricia S. Grigson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


This study used heroin self-administration to investigate incubation of goal-directed heroin-seeking behavior following abstinence. Male Sprague-Dawley rats self-administered heroin on a fixed ratio 10 (FR10) schedule of reinforcement with licking of an empty spout serving as the operant behavior during 14 daily 3 h sessions. After this acquisition period, all rats received a 90 min extinction session following either 1 day or 14 days of home cage abstinence. When the extinction session occurred after only 1 day of home cage abstinence, rats with a history of heroin self-administration divided their responses equally between the previously "active" and "inactive" spouts. However, when the extinction session occurred following 14 days of home cage abstinence, the rats exhibited marked goal-directed heroin-seeking behavior by licking more on the previously "active" than "inactive" spout. These findings demonstrate that heroin-seeking behavior incubates over time, resulting in goal-directed heroin-seeking behavior in rats following 14 days but not 1 day of abstinence. Moreover, this facilitatory effect occurred in response to a different training schedule, lower total drug intake, and shorter periods of daily access than previously reported with heroin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)344-348
Number of pages5
JournalPharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Heroin self-administration: I. Incubation of goal-directed behavior in rats'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this