Cocaine-seeking behavior in a genetic model of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder following adolescent methylphenidate or atomoxetine treatments

Chloe J. Jordan, Roxann C. Harvey, Britahny B. Baskin, Linda P. Dwoskin, Kathleen M. Kantak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Background: Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is often comorbid with cocaine abuse. Controversy exists regarding long-term consequences of ADHD medications on cocaine abuse liability. Whereas childhood methylphenidate treatment may be preventative, methylphenidate in teens appears to further increase later cocaine abuse risk. In rodents, adolescent methylphenidate treatment further increases adult cocaine self-administration in the Spontaneously Hypertensive Rat (SHR) model of ADHD, whereas adolescent atomoxetine treatment does not. Effects of ADHD medications on cocaine cue reactivity, a critical component of addiction, are unknown. Methods: To investigate this, SHR, Wistar-Kyoto (inbred control) and Wistar (outbred control) rats received therapeutically relevant doses of methylphenidate (1.5. mg/kg, oral) and atomoxetine (0.3. mg/kg, intraperitoneal), or respective vehicles from post-natal day 28-55. Cocaine seeking, reflecting cue reactivity, was measured in adulthood during self-administration maintenance and cue-induced reinstatement tests conducted under a second-order schedule. Results: Compared to control strains, SHR earned more cocaine infusions, emitted more cocaine-seeking responses during maintenance and reinstatement testing, and required more sessions to reach the extinction criterion. Compared to vehicle, adolescent methylphenidate, but not atomoxetine, further increased cocaine intake during maintenance testing in SHR. Adolescent atomoxetine, but not methylphenidate, decreased cocaine seeking during reinstatement testing in SHR. Neither medication had effects on cocaine intake or cue reactivity in control strains. Conclusions: The SHR successfully model ADHD and cocaine abuse comorbidity and show differential effects of adolescent ADHD medications on cocaine intake and cue reactivity during adulthood. Thus, SHR have heuristic value for assessing neurobiology underlying the ADHD phenotype and for evaluating pharmacotherapeutics for ADHD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-32
Number of pages8
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
StatePublished - Jul 1 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.


  • Addiction
  • Atomoxetine
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • Cocaine
  • Methylphenidate
  • Spontaneously Hypertensive Rat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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