PsychoGenics has been a leader in the field of drug abuse liability for over a decade, specializing in the validation and utilization of rodent models for assessing drug abuse potential. 

Our comprehensive range of models and tests, encompassing self-administration, drug discrimination, conditioned place preference, relapse, and withdrawal, delivers critical insights for clients seeking a thorough evaluation of their drug candidates. 

The intravenous self-administration (SA) model is widely acknowledged as a highly reliable and predictive method for examining the reinforcing properties of new compounds and the potential for drug abuse liability issues. PsychoGenics applies it to three primary areas: 

  • Evaluating a compound’s ability to inhibit drug abuse 
  • Assessing its ability to inhibit reinstatement of drug abuse 
  • Determining the abuse liability of novel compounds 

This model serves as a gold standard for drug abuse liability testing, providing valuable insights into the addictive potential of substances and aiding in the development of effective strategies for addiction prevention and treatment. 

Drug discrimination (DD) is a central behavioral assay that measures the extent to which interoceptive stimulus effects align with those of relevant drugs of abuse. Through DD training, animals are conditioned to exhibit a specific response, such as pressing a particular lever following the administration of a known drug of abuse, and a different response after receiving a placebo or vehicle. 

When exposed to a novel compound, the level of drug-appropriate responding indicates the degree of similarity between the subjective effects of the compound and the reference drug. 

By combining drug self-administration and drug discrimination models, PsychoGenics provides a crucial source of data for developing medications that maximize therapeutic benefits while minimizing the risk of drug abuse.

Rooted in Pavlovian conditioning, conditioned place preference (CPP) is widely utilized to assess preferences for environmental stimuli associated with positive experiences like food, reinforcing drugs, or pain relief linked with distinct cues. CPP detects both reward-driven behaviors and aversion relief, evidenced by animals gravitating toward spaces associated with positive cues.  

CPP has proven its validity as a behavioral assay for evaluating potentially abused compounds in both rodents and primates, employing open-field chambers with distinct textured compartments. 

Additionally, the presence of a significant preference for the vehicle-paired compartment over the drug-paired compartment indicates conditioned place aversion (CPA), commonly associated with drugs eliciting aversive effects. 

It’s noteworthy that many drugs of abuse can induce both CPP and CPA, with the specific outcome depending on the administered dose, while withdrawal effects in drug-dependent animals typically lead to CPA.

Drug withdrawal can be marked by an array of symptoms that surface when there’s a cessation or tapering of drug doses in abuse contexts. We employ a structured behavioral assessment, to  determine somatic as well as precipitated withdrawal symptoms.

Inducing physical dependency involves either sustained or repeated drug administration over spans of 1-3 weeks. This is commonly facilitated using osmotic mini-pumps to ensure a regulated release. Observations of somatic indicators transpire in an open-field setting, typically lasting between 10-20 minutes based on the research blueprint, complemented by real-time scoring and videography. Physical dependence is achieved through repeated or continuous administration of the drug over a period of 1-3 weeks, often utilizing osmotic mini-pumps for controlled delivery. Somatic sign observations are conducted within an open-field environment, with scoring durations of 10-20 minutes (depending on study design) and on-site scoring and video recordings.

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