Novel approach to data analysis in cocaine-conditioned place preference

Adriane M. Dela Cruz, David V. Herin, James J. Grady, Kathryn A. Cunningham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Only a subgroup of human drug users progress from initial drug taking to drug addiction. The learned associations between the effects of the drug and the environment in which it is experienced is an important aspect of the progression to continued drug taking and drug seeking. These associations can be modeled using the conditioned place preference (CPP) paradigm, although no current method of CPP analysis allows for the identification of within-group variability among subjects. In this study, we adapted a 'criterion' method of analysis to separate 'CPP expressing' from 'non-CPP expressing' rats to study more directly within-group variability in the CPP paradigm. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were conditioned with cocaine (5, 10, 20μmg/kg) or saline in an unbiased three-chamber CPP apparatus in either a single-trial or four-trial CPP procedure. A classification and regression tree analysis of time spent in the cocaine-paired chamber established a time of 324μs spent in the cocaine-paired chamber as the criterion for cocaine CPP expression. This criterion effectively discriminated control from cocaine-conditioned rats and was reliable for rats trained in both single trial and four-trial CPP procedures. The criterion method showed an enhanced ability to detect effective doses of cocaine in the single-trial CPP procedure and a blockade of CPP expression by MK 212 (0.125μmg/kg) treatment in a subgroup of rats. These data support the utility of the criterion analysis as an adjunct to traditional methods that compare group averages in CPP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)720-730
Number of pages11
JournalBehavioural Pharmacology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Animal model
  • Classical conditioning
  • Classification and regression tree analysis
  • Rat
  • Serotonin 2C receptor
  • Statistical analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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