Can the 'state-dependency' hypothesis explain prevention of amphetamine sensitization in rats by NMDA receptor antagonists?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Many laboratories have reported that coadministration of N-methyl-D- aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonists with psychomotor stimulants prevents the development of behavioral sensitization and therefore concluded that NMDA receptor transmission is necessary for sensitization. According to an alternative 'state-dependency' interpretation, NMDA receptor antagonists do not prevent sensitization. Rather, they become a conditioned stimulus for the sensitized response, i.e., it is only elicited in response to combined administration of the NMDA receptor antagonist and the stimulant. This hypothesis is supported by progressive augmentation of the locomotor response to the drug combination during the induction phase, and expression of sensitization when challenged with the combination but not the stimulant alone. To test this hypothesis, rats were treated during a 6-day induction phase with amphetamine (Amph) alone or in combination with the competitive NMDA receptor antagonist CGS 19755 (10 mg/kg) or the non-competitive NMDA receptor antagonist MK-801 (0.05, 0.1 and 0.25 mg/kg). When CGS 19755 was coadministered with Amph, there was no progressive augmentation of response to the drug combination. When challenged with Amph alone, rats did not exhibit the hiphaste pattern of locomotor activity characteristic of Amph sensitization. No sensitization of stereotyped behaviors was evident, although the ambulatory response was greater than that exhibited by naive rats. Results with MK-801 were complex, but progressive augmentation of response to the drug combination appeared to in part reflect sensitization to MK-801 and could be dissociated from the ability of MK-801 to prevent the development of sensitization as assessed by response to challenge with Amph alone. Many of these findings are inconsistent with predictions of the 'state-dependency' hypothesis. Moreover, the ability of NMDA receptor antagonists to prevent biochemical and electrophysiological correlates of sensitization is difficult to reconcile with the idea that sensitization develops in the presence of NMDA receptor blockade but cannot be expressed. Together, these findings suggest that the ability of NMDA receptor antagonists to prevent Amph sensitization reflects a requirement for NMDA receptor transmission during its induction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)351-361
Number of pages11
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Amphetamine
  • Behavioral sensitization
  • MK-801
  • NMDA receptor
  • Rat
  • State- dependency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


Dive into the research topics of 'Can the 'state-dependency' hypothesis explain prevention of amphetamine sensitization in rats by NMDA receptor antagonists?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this