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Keywords:

  • Cocaine self administration;
  • cystine-glutamate exchange;
  • drug seeking;
  • habits;
  • N-acetylcysteine;
  • second-order schedule

ABSTRACT

N-acetylcysteine (NAC) has been suggested to have therapeutic potential in the treatment of drug addiction through its effects on brain glutamate homeostasis. Here we show that NAC treatment resulted in dose-dependent reductions in cocaine seeking at both early and late stages of acquisition and maintenance of cocaine-seeking behavior, while confirming it had no effect on cocaine reinforcement. The results indicate that NAC is able to significantly diminish the propensity to seek cocaine early and late in the development of addiction and, taken together with previous work, indicates significant potential in relapse prevention.