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Keywords:

  • cocaine;
  • extinction learning;
  • lidocaine;
  • neurosubstrates;
  • self-administration

Abstract

Memory system circuitry may regulate how cues associated with cocaine are extinguished, and understanding neurosubstrates of extinction may lead to the development of improved treatment strategies for cocaine addiction. Sites within the hippocampus and amygdala were investigated for their role in regulating cocaine cue extinction learning. Initially, rats were trained to self-administer cocaine under a second-order reinforcement schedule (cocaine and cocaine cues present) followed by a 2-week abstinence period. Using lidocaine, rats next underwent bilateral inactivation of the dorsal subiculum (dSUB) or rostral basolateral amygdala (rBLA), asymmetric inactivation of the dSUB and rBLA, unilateral inactivation of the dSUB or rBLA, or ipsilateral inactivation of the dSUB and rBLA prior to cocaine cue extinction training sessions (only cocaine cues present) on two consecutive days. Relative to vehicle, bilateral and asymmetric lidocaine treatments in the dSUB and rBLA slowed cocaine cue extinction learning. Specifically, vehicle-treated rats exhibited a significantly larger difference in responding from Day 1 to Day 2 of extinction training than lidocaine-treated rats. In comparison, unilateral or ipsilateral lidocaine treatments in the dSUB and rBLA did not slow cocaine cue extinction learning. Rats treated with lidocaine and vehicle exhibited a similar difference in responding from Day 1 to Day 2 of extinction training. These results indicate that sites within the hippocampus and amygdala need to be functionally active simultaneously in at least one brain hemisphere for acquisition of cocaine cue extinction learning. These results further suggest that a serial circuit within each hemisphere mediates acquisition of cocaine cue extinction learning.