Assessment of Cocaine-induced Behavioral Sensitization and Conditioned Place Preference in Mice. Academic Article uri icon


  • It is thought that rewarding experiences with drugs create strong contextual associations and encourage repeated intake. In turn, repeated exposures to drugs of abuse make lasting alterations in the brain function of vulnerable individuals, and these persistent alterations likely serve to maintain the maladaptive drug seeking and taking behaviors characteristic of addiction/dependence(2). In rodents, reward experience and contextual associations are frequently measured using the conditioned place preference assay, or CPP, wherein preference for a previously drug-paired context is measured. Behavioral sensitization, on the other hand, is an increase in a drug-induced behavior that develops progressively over repeated exposures. Since sensitized behaviors can often be measured after several months of drug abstinence, depending on the dose and length of initial exposure, they are considered observable correlates of lasting drug-induced plasticity. Researchers have found these assays useful in determining the neurobiological substrates mediating aspects of addiction as well as assessing the potential of different interventions in disrupting these behaviors. This manuscript describes basic, effective protocols for mouse CPP and locomotor behavioral sensitization to cocaine.

published proceedings

  • J Vis Exp

altmetric score

  • 0.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Smith, L. N., Penrod, R. D., Taniguchi, M., & Cowan, C. W.

citation count

  • 14

complete list of authors

  • Smith, Laura N||Penrod, Rachel D||Taniguchi, Makoto||Cowan, Christopher W

publication date

  • February 2016