Effects of methamphetamine on the adjusting amount procedure, a model of impulsive behavior in rats

by Richards JB, Sabol KE, de Wit H
Department of Psychology, West Virginia University,
114 Oglebay Hall, P.O.Box 6040, Morgantown, WV 26506, USA.
[email protected]
Psychopharmacology (Berl) 1999 Oct; 146(4):432-9


RATIONALE: Moderate doses of d-amphetamine (given both acutely and chronically) have been shown to decrease impulsivity in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and to improve attention and learning in normal adults. In contrast, chronic doses of methamphetamine (METH) in drug abusers have been associated with increased impulsivity, and impairments in learning and attention.

OBJECTIVES: We report the effects of METH on an animal model of impulsive behavior.

METHODS: Rats were tested using the adjusting amount (AdjAmt) procedure in which the animals choose between a delayed fixed (large) amount of water and an immediate adjusting (small) amount of water. In the acute METH study, rats were given a single dose of 0.5, 1.0, 2.0, and 4.0 mg/kg METH or saline 30 min before testing. In the chronic METH study, we determined the effects of the 4.0 mg/kg dose of METH injected chronically 1 h after behavioral testing for 14 days. Thus the rats were tested using the AdjAmt procedure 22 h after injections of METH or saline.

RESULTS: After 0.5, 1.0 and 2.0 mg/kg METH, the rats valued the delayed large rewards more than after saline, indicating that the METH decreased impulsiveness. At the 4.0 mg/kg dose, the rats failed to respond. Rats treated repeatedly with the post-session large behaviorally disruptive dose of METH valued the delayed large rewards less than the saline-treated rats, indicating that this dosing regimen of METH increased impulsiveness.

CONCLUSIONS: In these experiments, the rats became less impulsive after acute non-disruptive doses of pre-session METH, whereas they became more impulsive after receiving repeated post-session injections of a dose that was behaviorally disruptive when administered acutely.