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Who is HOT and who is LOT? Detailed characterization of prescription opioid‐induced changes in behavior between 129P3/J and 129S1/SvlmJ mouse substrains

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Genetic factors are theorized to contribute to the substantial inter-individual variability in opioid abuse/addiction. To advance the behavioral genetics of prescription opioid abuse, our prior work identified the 129S1/SvlmJ (S1) and related 129P3/J (P3) mouse substrains, respectively, as low and high opioid-taking. Herein, we related our prior results to measures of sucrose reward/reinforcement, basal anxiety, opioid-induced place-conditioning, locomotor activity and Straub tail reaction, as well as behavioral and physiological signs of withdrawal. Substrains were also re-examined for higher-dose oxycodone and fentanyl intake under limited-access drinking procedures. S1 mice failed to acquire sucrose self-administration under various operant-conditioning procedures and exhibited lower sucrose intake in the home-cage. However, sucrose intake under limited-access procedures escalated in both substrains with repeated sucrose experience. S1 mice exhibited less spontaneous locomotor activity, as well as less opioid-induced locomotor activity and Straub tail reaction, than P3 mice and failed to exhibit an oxycodone-induced place-preference. The lack of conditioned behavior by S1 mice was unrelated to behavioral signs of withdrawal-induced negative affect or dependence severity, but might reflect high levels of basal anxiety-like behavior. Intriguingly, S1 and P3 mice initially exhibited equivalent oxycodone and fentanyl consumption in the home-cage; however opioid intake escalated only in P3 mice with repeated opioid experience. No sex differences were observed for any of our measures. These data provide additional evidence for robust differences in opioid addiction-related behaviors between P3 and S1 substrains and suggest that anxiety, learning, and/or motivational impairments might confound interpretation of operant- and place-conditioning studies employing the S1 substrain.

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