The dopamine D3 receptor is a prime target for developing treatments for cocaine use disorders (CUDs). In this study, we conducted a pre-clinical investigation of the therapeutic potential of a long-acting, D3 receptor partial agonist, MC-25-41. Male rats were pre-treated with MC-25-41 (vehicle, 1.0, 3.0, 5.6, or 10 mg/kg, intraperitoneal (IP)) five minutes prior to tests of cocaine or sucrose intake on either a progressive ratio schedule of reinforcement or a variable interval 60 s multiple schedule consisting of 4, 15-min components with sucrose or cocaine available in alternating components. A separate cohort of rats was tested on a within-session, dose-reduction procedure to determine the effects of MC-25-41 on demand for cocaine using a behavioral economics analysis. Finally, rats were tested for effects of MC-25-41 on spontaneous and cocaine-induced locomotion. MC-25-41 failed to alter locomotion, but reduced reinforcement rates for both cocaine and sucrose on the low-effort, multiple schedule. However, on the higher-effort, progressive ratio schedule of cocaine reinforcement, MC-25-41 reduced infusions, and active lever presses at doses that did not alter sucrose intake. The behavioral economics analysis showed that MC-25-41 also increased cocaine demand elasticity compared to vehicle, indicating a reduction in consumption as price increases. Together, these results suggest that similar to other D3-selective antagonists and partial agonists, MC-25-41 reduces motivation for cocaine under conditions of high cost but has the added advantage of a long half-life (>10 h). These findings suggest that MC-25-41 may be a suitable pre-clinical lead compound for development of medications to treat CUDs.
- Behavioral economics
- Dopamine D3 receptors