High ambient temperature increases intravenous methamphetamine self-administration on fixed and progressive ratio schedules in rats

Jennifer L. Cornish*, Kelly J. Clemens, Murray R. Thompson, Paul D. Callaghan, Bronwyn Dawson, Iain S. McGregor

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    14 Citations (Scopus)


    Methamphetamine is a drug that is often consumed at dance parties or nightclubs where the ambient temperature is high. The present study determined whether such high ambient temperatures alter intravenous methamphetamine self-administration in the rat. Male Hooded Wistar rats were trained to self-administer intravenous methamphetamine (0.1 mg/kg/infusion) under a fixed ratio 1 (FR1) or progressive ratio (PR) schedule of reinforcement at an ambient temperature of 23 ± 1°C. They were then given their daily self-administration session at a raised ambient temperature of 30 ± 1°C. Methamphetamine self-administration was increased at 30°C under both FR1 and PR reinforcement schedules, with the latter effect indicating that heat enhances the motivation to obtain methamphetamine. High temperatures did not alter self-administration of the D1 receptor agonist SKF 82958 in methamphetamine-experienced rats suggesting some specificity in the methamphetamine effect. When rats were given access to drink isotonic saline solution during methamphetamine self-administration sessions they drank much more solution at 30°C than 23°C. However, availability of isotonic saline to drink did not alter the heat-induced facilitation of methamphetamine self-administration (PR schedule) indicating that the heat effect does not simply reflect increased motivation for intravenous fluids. Hyperthermia was evident in rats self-administering methamphetamine at high ambient temperatures and fluid consumption did not prevent this effect. Heat did not affect blood levels of methamphetamine, or its principal metabolite amphetamine indicating that the facilitatory effect of heat did not reflect altered methamphetamine pharmacokinetics. Overall, these results show that high ambient temperatures increase the reinforcing efficacy of methamphetamine and encourage higher levels of drug intake.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)100-110
    Number of pages11
    JournalJournal of Psychopharmacology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2008


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