Rationale: During the development of addiction, addictive drugs induce transient and long-lasting changes in the brain including expression of endogenous molecules and alteration of morphological structure. Of the altered endogenous molecules, some facilitate but others slow the development of drug addiction. Previously, we have reported that tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) is a critical molecule among endogenous anti-addictive modulators using animal models of drug-conditioned place preference and drug discrimination. Objectives: Does targeted deletion of the TNF-α gene in mice affect methamphetamine (METH) self-administration, motivation to self-administer METH, cue-induced reinstatement of METH-seeking behavior, and food reinforcement or seeking behavior? Methods: Both METH self-administration and reinstatement of drug-seeking behavior and food self-delivery and food-seeking behavior were measured in TNF-α (-/-) and wild-type mice. Results: There were an upward shift of dose responses to METH self-administration under a fixed ratio schedule of reinforcement and higher breaking points under a progressive ratio schedule of reinforcement in TNF-α knockout (TNF-α (-/-)) mice as compared with wild-type mice. There was no significant difference in cue-induced reinstatement of METH-seeking behavior, food-maintained operant behavior, motivation to natural food, and cue-induced food-seeking behavior between TNF-α (-/-) and wild-type mice. Conclusion: TNF-α affects METH self-administration and motivation to self-administer METH but contributes to neither METH-associated cue-induced relapsing behavior nor food reward and food-seeking behavior. TNF-α may be explored for use as a diagnostic biomarker for the early stage of drug addiction.
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