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Vol. 20, No. 6, 1998
Issue release date: November–December 1998 (December 1998)
Dev Neurosci 1998;20:525–532

Dose-Dependent Effects of Multiple Acute Cocaine Injections on Maternal Behavior and Aggression in Sprague-Dawley Rats

Johns J.M. · Nelson C.J. · Meter K.E. · Lubin D.A. · Couch C.D. · Ayers A. · Walker C.H.
Departments of Psychiatry and Psychology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, N.C., USA

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Rat dams, which had no prior drug treatment, were either nontreated controls or were injected subcutaneously 4 times during a 10-day period with a single dose of 30, 15 or 7.5 mg/kg of cocaine hydrochloride HCl, or normal saline. Injections were given immediately postpartum following delivery of their final pup (PPD 1), and again on postpartum day 3 (PPD 3), postpartum day 6 (PPD 6) and postpartum day 10 (PPD 10). Dams were observed 30 min following injections for maternal behavior (MB) towards 8 surrogate male pups on PPD 1 and PPD 3 and for aggression towards a male or female intruder in the presence of their litter on PPD 6 and PPD 10. Compared to saline and untreated controls, cocaine-treated dams exhibited more disruptions in MB on both PPD 1 and PPD 3 and were less aggressive towards an intruder, regardless of intruder sex, on PPD 6 and PPD 10. In most cases MB was altered in a dose-dependent manner with the higher doses of cocaine resulting in a greater disruption of behavior.

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