Cocaine induces conditioned place preference and increases locomotor activity in male Japanese quail

Neil Levens, Chana K. Akins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


The conditioned place preference (CPP) procedure is a popular method used for testing the rewarding properties of human drugs of abuse. Most CPP studies utilize mammalian models. However, avian species have better visual systems than rodent species, and because the cues that become associated with human drug-taking behavior are often visual, Aves might serve as an alternative animal model for investigating drugs of abuse. In three experiments, we examined the locomotor stimulant and rewarding effects of cocaine in adult male Japanese quail. In Experiment 1, cocaine increased locomotor activity relative to saline. In addition, behavioral sensitization was evident across repeated injections. In Experiment 2, CPP was established after six pairings of cocaine. Finally, the dopamine D2 receptor subtype antagonist eticlopride did not attenuate acquisition of cocaine CPP in Experiment 3. Rather, subjects receiving pretreatment of eticlopride demonstrated a place preference for the cocaine-paired context. In contrast, pretreatment of eticlopride reduced cocaine-induced locomotor activity. The findings suggest that drug-reward processes may be highly conserved across species and that birds may serve as a viable model for investigating drug-reward processes especially with regard to the ability of cocaine to become associated with visual cues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-80
Number of pages10
JournalPharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank Hunt Stilwell and Kristie Hall for their help in collecting data and Mike Bardo for his helpful suggestions throughout the project and for his helpful comments in preparing this manuscript. N. Levens supported by the Research Challenge Trust Fund and the Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program at the University of Kentucky. C.K. Akins supported by IBN grant 9728756.


  • Aves
  • Behavioral sensitization
  • Birds
  • Cocaine
  • Conditioned place preference
  • Dopamine antagonist
  • Eticlopride
  • Locomotor activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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