Trait Impulsivity Predicts Escalation of Sucrose Seeking and Hypersensitivity to Sucrose-Associated Stimuli

L. Diergaarde, T. Pattij, L. Nawijn, A.N.M. Schoffelmeer, T.J. de Vries

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Poor impulse control has been associated with compulsive drug seeking and an enhanced risk of relapse, suggesting that impulsivity is causally related to addiction proneness and relapse vulnerability. However, whether this association is specific to drugs of abuse or whether heightened impulsivity relates to a general increase in sensitivity to rewards and reward-associated stimuli is unknown. To address this issue, the authors selected rats on the basis of individual differences in impulsive action in the 5-choice serial reaction time task, after which they were subjected to an operant sucrose self-administration paradigm. High-impulsive rats displayed a progressive increase in responding on the active hole (including responses emitted during the time-out period) in comparison with low-impulsive rats, which reflects escalation of sucrose-seeking behavior. Once sucrose and sucrose-associated stimuli were omitted (extinction training), nose-poke responding ceased rapidly, an effect that was independent of impulsivity level. In contrast, on reintroduction of sucrose-associated stimuli, sucrose seeking was successfully reinstated in high-impulsive but not in low-impulsive rats. Collectively, the results suggest that impaired response inhibition is associated with enhanced responsiveness to reward-associated stimuli. As such, elevated impulsivity might constitute a risk factor for the initiation and maintenance of addictive behaviors. © 2009 American Psychological Association.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)794-803
JournalBehavioral Neuroscience
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Bibliographical note

J English Article Diergaarde, L, VU Med Ctr, Dept Anat & Neurosci, Boechorststr 7, NL-1081 BT Amsterdam, Netherlands 48 0 AMER PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOC WASHINGTON 750 FIRST ST NE, WASHINGTON, DC 20002-4242 USA BEHAV NEUROSCI AUG Discipline: Behavioral Sciences; Neurosciences 477PC


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