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Joseph Schroeder

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The government and major news outlet have recently emphasized the drug abuse epidemic, which is now considered a major health problem in the United States. Specifically the use of non-prescribed stimulants such as Adderall is increasingly common among adolescents and young adults, causing many concerns about the potential lasting neurochemical and behavioral effects. Both genetic and environmental factors can increase or decrease a person’s susceptibility to drugs of abuse. Childhood trauma, interfamilial drug abuse, and community poverty increase likelihood of drug abuse. However an enriched environment can reduce the risk of developing addiction and reduce drug-seeking behaviors. The goal of this study was to examine how environmental enrichment (EE) and impoverishment (IC) affected amphetamine reward behavior in Sprague-Dawley rats via conditioned place preference (CPP) and to what extent context, drug or the combination affected c-fos expression in the nucleus accumbens. Rats underwent either EE or isolation conditioning for 3 or 5 weeks, respectively, before undergoing a 7-day biased amphetamine CPP paradigm. A one-way ANOVA examining differences in preference changes of the three groups did not reveal any significant differences (p> 0.05). One-way ANOVAs analyzing differences in c-Fos positive cells between the three groups (EE, IC, and SC) and subgroups did not result in any significant findings. Environmental conditioning therefore did not demonstrate any impact on amphetamine reward behavior and re-exposure to context, drug or both did not appear to impact c-Fos expression in the NAc core or shell.



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