Context-dependent cocaine sensitization: Differential effect of haloperidol on development versus expression

S. R.B. Weiss, R. M. Post, A. Pert, R. Woodward, D. Murman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

161 Scopus citations


Repeated, intermittent administration of psychomotor stimulants has been shown to produce increasing effects (behavioral sensitization) in many species of animals. In a novel two-day sensitization paradigm, rats that received a single high dose of cocaine (40 mg/kg) compared with saline on day 1 showed an increased locomotor response to a challenge dose (10 mg/kg) on day 2. This effect is conditioned or context-dependent; i.e., it is only observed if the rats received cocaine in an environment similar to the test environment. If the cocaine-induced hyperactivity on day 1 is prevented with pharmacological agents such as haloperidol and diazepam, sensitization on day 2 does not occur. Furthermore, although moderate (0.2 mg/kg) and high doses (0.5 mg/kg) of haloperidol (day 1) prevented the development of sensitization to cocaine, they were ineffective when given prior to the day 2 challenge dose in preventing the expression of sensitization. Thus, this type of cocaine sensitization appears to involve conditioning, show stimulus generalization, and offer a possible model for clinical neuroleptic nonresponsiveness once stimulant-induced pathological behavior has been induced.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)655-661
Number of pages7
JournalPharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes


  • Cocaine
  • Conditioning
  • Neuroleptics
  • Psychomotor stimulants
  • Sensitization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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