Female Japanese quail with high levels of estradiol demonstrate cocaine-induced conditioned place preference

Karin E. Gill, Anna R. Reynolds, Mark A. Prendergast, Chana K. Akins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Preclinical research has indicated that females may be more sensitive to the rewarding properties of cocaine. However, the majority of this research has been done in rodent species. Environmental cues associated with human drug-taking behavior tend to be visual. Because rodents do not rely on the visual system as their primary sense modality, the use of a visually oriented species may add to our understanding of cue-elicited drug cravings and relapse. The present study examined the potential role of the steroid hormone, estradiol, in the rewarding properties of cocaine in female Japanese quail using a conditioned place preference (CPP) procedure. In the current experiment, female quail were housed on either an 8L:16D (light:dark) or 16L:8D (light:dark) cycle for 21 days to induce photoregression or photostimulation, respectively. They then received 10, 20, or 30 mg/kg cocaine, or saline during conditioning. Conditioning trials were carried out for 8 days, once per day for 30 min, for a total of 4 cocaine and 4 saline alternating conditioning trials. Results indicated that female quail housed in long-light conditions (16L:8D) had significantly higher levels of estradiol than short-cycle females. Additionally, photostimulated female quail developed a CPP to 10 and 20 mg/kg cocaine. Short-cycle females did not show cocaine-induced CPP to any dose tested. Results indicate that cocaine is dosedependently rewarding to photostimulated female Japanese quail. Furthermore, the current findings suggest that estradiol may enhance the rewarding properties of cocaine in female quail.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-192
Number of pages8
JournalExperimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 American Psychological Association.


  • Cocaine
  • Conditioned place preference
  • Estradiol
  • Female Japanese quail
  • Sex differences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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