Loss of tolerance to amphetamine-induced hypophagia in rats: homeostatic readjustment vs. instrumental learning

by Hughes KM, Popi L, Wolgin DL
Department of Psychology,
Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton 33431, USA.
Pharmacol Biochem Behav 1999 Sep; 64(1):177-82


According to the homeostatic model, the loss of tolerance to amphetamine-induced hypophagia requires a period of unrestricted feeding in the drug-free state, which transforms the compensatory response mediating tolerance (“hyperhunger”) into a functional disturbance to homeostasis. In the absence of such a disturbance, tolerance should be retained. To test this prediction, rats tolerant to amphetamine’s hypophagic effect were given a 4-week tolerance retention period during which milk intakes were restricted and deprivation levels held relatively constant. During this period the rats were assigned to one of the following drug treatment conditions: 1) saline injections both before and after daily milk tests (saline group); 2) saline injections before, and amphetamine injections after, daily milk tests (after group); 3) no injections and no milk tests (no-treatment group); or 4) amphetamine injections before, and saline injections after, milk tests (before group). Despite the restricted feeding regimen, both the saline and after groups lost tolerance. These results do not support the homeostatic model, but are consistent with the instrumental learning model, which views drinking milk in the undrugged state as analogous to receiving noncontingent reinforcement.