The effects of neonatal cocaine exposure on a play-rewarded spatial discrimination task in juvenile rats

J. A. Willford, T. M. Segar, L. S. Hansen-Trench, S. Barron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


This study examined the effects of neonatal cocaine exposure on the rewarding properties of play in a modified T-maze. Animals were artificially reared from postnatal day (PND) 4-9 with drug concentrated in four daily feeds. There were four treatment groups, 40 mg/kg/day cocaine, 20 mg/kg/day cocaine, an artificially reared control and a surgery control. From PND 38-42, subjects were tested with a food reward (EXP 1) or a play reward (EXP 2). No deficits in learning were seen when the reward was food. The 20 mg/kg/day cocaine group, however, showed impaired learning and altered play behavior when the reward was access to a play partner. Neonatal cocaine exposure thus appears to differentially affect learning based on the type of reward presented. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-143
Number of pages7
JournalPharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1999

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported, in part, by NIDA DA06049 to S.B. The authors would like to thank Todd Bonta for technical assistance, as well as Jenny Lambert, Cheryl Guy, Frankie Chung, and Misty Hall for their assistance in data collection. The authors also acknowledge Purina Protein International for supplying protein for the liquid diet and Clay Adams International for assistance with polyethylene tubing.


  • Behavioral teratology
  • Learning
  • Neonatal cocaine exposure
  • Play behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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