Different administration schedules of amphetamine (AMPH) lead to different behavioural consequences, neurochemical changes and gene expression patterns in a variety of brain areas during drug withdrawal. However, direct comparisons of these different effects within the same experiment are rare in the literature. Accordingly, in this study, rats were tested in relevant behavioural paradigms during withdrawal from three different administration schedules of AMPH. The intermittent schedule (INT) consisted of one daily injection of 1.5 mg/kg AMPH for 6 days. The escalating administration schedule consisted of three daily injections for 6 days with increasing dosages from 1 to 5 mg/kg AMPH during the first five injections and 5 mg/kg for the following 13 injections (ESC-5). A second more severe escalating administration schedule (three injections per day for 3 days escalating from 1 to 9 mg/kg AMPH and a final 10 mg/kg AMPH injection on day 4, ESC-10) was also investigated. Control animals received saline injections according to the three administration schedules. Rats pretreated with AMPH according to the ESC-10 administration schedule exhibited a transient reduction of locomotor activity on day 1, but not day 5, of withdrawal, as well as a permanent disruption of prepulse inhibition (PPI) on days 4, 20, and 40 of withdrawal. There was no effect on anxiety measured by the elevated plus-maze on withdrawal day 2, and all the AMPH pretreated animals exhibited a similar magnitude of behavioural sensitization following an AMPH challenge irrespective of administration schedule on withdrawal day 42. These data suggest that, based on their persistent disruption of PPI, animals withdrawn from AMPH ESC-10 might model specific symptoms of schizophrenic patients.
- Escalating dose