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Assessment of Drug Addiction in Rats

Assessment of Drug Addiction in Rats

Drug Addiction

Addiction is a behavioral disorder. The main symptom is the number and condition that accompany the gradual loss of control of drug use. Addiction is equivalent to a "habit", which refers to a specific behavior pattern controlled by a stimulus response (S-R) association. Animal models of addiction are key and highly informative tools for determining pathological mechanisms, target identification, and drug development. In the past few decades, Creative Biolabs has made significant progress in neurobiology's exploration of brain function and mental diseases.

Behavioral signs of drug addiction Fig.1 Behavioral signs of drug addiction.

The Most Effective Addiction Model - Rats

Experimental animals such as monkeys, mice, and rats voluntarily taken drugs through different management channels, whether oral or intravenous, and their addictive behaviors with humans showed a high degree of facial effectiveness. However, the multi-symptom model of cocaine and alcohol addiction has not been successfully established in mice. The conclusion is that rats are the best rodent model for studying human addictive behavior. It was because compared with mice, rats can learn complex operation training programs more easily, and intracranial surgery did less damage to brain tissue. For example:

  • The glutamate spectra of alcohol-dependent rats and alcohol-dependent humans have produced the same results: during the withdrawal process, rats and humans exhibited hyperglial potential activity in different parts of the brain, when withdrawal symptoms, this activity will decrease.
  • Matched with the prevalence of cocaine addicts, 15% to 20% of the rat population lost control of cocaine intake after prolonged training and exhibited behaviors like addicts, while most animals did maintain control of cocaine intake and show behaviors like those that are not addictive.

Methods of Assessing Drug Addiction in Rats

Addictive behavior syndrome can be modeled in rats by operating or non-operating self-management methods. Evaluation can be done directly in laboratory animals by recording classic condition-based patterns, intracranial electrical self-stimulation, or drug-induced memory enhancement.

  • Testing based on conditional preference (such as conditional location preference or sign tracking)
  • Regardless of the behavior of the subject at the time of administration, the presence or absence of a stimulus is a prerequisite for conditioned stimulation (CS). Afterward, approach/avoidance behaviors are elicited based on the unconditional stimuli used (such as old location and marker tracking). By measuring these approach/avoidance behaviors, we can further understand whether drugs are addictive.

  • Intracranial electrical self-stimulation (ICSS)
  • The operation response is maintained by electrical stimulation pulses. The electrodes are aimed at the lateral hypothalamus, and the experimental session manipulates the frequency or amplitude of the stimulus to generate a broad baseline response rate or response probability. Under these conditions, the drug-induced slow rate/increased probability of response is interpreted as an abuse-related effect.

  • Drug-induced memory enhancement
  • Drug-induced memory enhancement is a hypothetical process of synaptic strengthening, and its result comes from the presentation of certain stimuli, leading to an increase in striatal dopamine levels, proving its addictive results.

Creative Biolabs has advanced technology and an independent experimental platform to build animal models, monitor and manipulate the neuronal activity of behavioral animals, help customers identify biological factors related to cognitive neurological diseases, and reveal potential therapeutic interventions to advance the response Neuroscience research. Please feel free to contact us if you are interested or have any questions.


  1. Spanagel, R.; Animal models of addiction. Dialogues in clinical neuroscience. 2017, 19(3): 247.
For Research Use Only. Not For Clinical Use.
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