Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Santa Barbara

UC Santa Barbara Previously Published Works bannerUC Santa Barbara

Methamphetamine self-administration in a runway model of drug-seeking behavior in male rats


Cocaine administration has been shown to produce immediate positive (rewarding) and subsequent negative (anxiogenic) effects in humans and animals. These dual and opposing affective responses have been more difficult to demonstrate with administration of methamphetamine (meth). While animal studies have reliably demonstrated the positive reinforcing effects of the drug, reports of negative aftereffects following acute exposure have been few in number and contradictory in nature. The current research was devised to assess the effects of acute meth using a runway model of self-administration that is uniquely sensitive to both the positive and negative effects of a drug reinforcer in the same animal on the same trial. Male rats were allowed to traverse a straight alley once a day for 16 consecutive days/trials where entry into the goal box resulted in a single IV injection of meth (0.25, 0.5 or 1.0 mg/kg/inj.). The chosen doses were confirmed to be psychoactive as they produced dose-dependent increases in motoric/locomotor activation in these same subjects. The results demonstrated a U-shaped dose-response curve for the reinforcing effects of meth in that the intermediate dose group (0.5 mg/kg) produced the strongest approach behavior in the runway. Unlike other psychomotor stimulants, like cocaine, animals running for IV meth exhibited no evidence of any significant approach-avoidance behaviors reflective of the drug's negative anxiogenic effects. These results suggest that the abuse potential for meth is likely higher than for other shorter-acting psychomotor stimulants and reaffirms the utility of the runway procedure as a screen for a substance's abuse potential.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View