Assessing the reinforcing effects of caffeine : the self-administrtion of caffeine by rats

UNCW Author/Contributor (non-UNCW co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Shanna Babalonis (Creator)
The University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW )
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Abstract: Caffeine is the most widely consumed psychoactive drug, with the prevalence of use approaching 80% of the world's population. In stark contrast to most stimulants, caffeine is considered an innocuous agent with advantageous behavioral effects. Nonetheless, the sustained use of caffeine can result in tolerance or sensitization to the pharmacologic and behavioral effects of the drug effects shared with other stimulants including amphetamine and cocaine. Moreover, unlike cocaine, caffeine abstinence results in unique withdrawal symptoms that are easily identified. The observation of withdrawal, dependence, and tolerance, notions usually associated with drug abuse, suggest caffeine consumption may provide an intriguing model of substance abuse. To this end, the aims of this work were to delineate environmental factors that establish caffeine self-administration in rats. The self-administration of caffeine was established and modified by a combination of behavioral and pharmacological factors including food restriction, drug dose, and infusion rate. The results suggest caffeine-maintained behavior is comparable to nicotine self-administration, but distinct from that of cocaine or heroin. These findings highlight the role of non-pharmacological factors in substance abuse and suggest that further investigations evaluating the reinforcing effects of caffeine can enhance the understanding and treatment of drug abuse.

Additional Information

A Thesis Submitted to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirement for the Degree of Masters of Arts
Language: English
Date: 2009
Caffeine habit, Rats--Research
Caffeine habit
Rats -- Research

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