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Elucidating the effects of estrous cycle on social stress-induced amphetamine sensitization in female rats

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Consequences of drug abuse and addiction affect both men and women, but women tend to rapidly progress through drug addiction phases, have higher drug dependency, and have higher relapse rates. Ovarian hormones fluctuate with female reproductive cycles and are thought

Consequences of drug abuse and addiction affect both men and women, but women tend to rapidly progress through drug addiction phases, have higher drug dependency, and have higher relapse rates. Ovarian hormones fluctuate with female reproductive cycles and are thought to cause increased sensitivity to psychostimulants. Additionally, intermittent social defeat stress induces social avoidance, weight loss, and long-lasting cross-sensitization to psychostimulants, which is associated with increased FosB/ΔFosB expression in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) shell. In this study, we examined the estrous cycle in female rats on social defeat stress-induced amphetamine cross-sensitization through FosB/ΔFosB expression in the NAc shell. Every third day for ten days, we induced social defeat stress in rats through short confrontations with a lactating female resident rat and her pups. In parallel, a group of rats were handled for control. Vaginal swabs were taken daily to assess estrous stage. Ten days after the last stress exposure, rats were administered a low dose of amphetamine (0.5 mg/kg, i.p.), which induced cross-sensitization in stressed rats, evidenced by enhanced locomotor activity. Approximately 3-10 days after amphetamine challenge, brain tissue was collected for immunohistochemistry analyses. Stressed female rats had lower body weight gain, higher social avoidance, and increased FosB/ΔFosB expression in the NAc shell. Differences in FosB/ΔFosB expression in the NAc shell was also observed in handled animals in different estrous stages. Furthermore, rats in proestrous/estrous stages displayed enhanced social defeat stress-induced amphetamine cross-sensitization in comparison to rats in metestrous/diestrous stages. Elucidating the effects of the female reproductive cycle on drug use may provide a novel approach to treatments or therapies in preventing women’s stress-induced vulnerability to substance abuse.

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2019-05

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An Analysis of Youth Prescription Drug Use in Arizona: A Collaboration Between the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission and the Community Action Research Experiences Program

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The purpose of this study was to evaluate existing data from the Arizona Youth Survey (AYS) to give policymakers and representatives from the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission some insight into the high rates of youth prescription drug abuse. This study

The purpose of this study was to evaluate existing data from the Arizona Youth Survey (AYS) to give policymakers and representatives from the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission some insight into the high rates of youth prescription drug abuse. This study examined trends in prescription drug consumption among Pima County, Arizona adolescents, as well as the contexts in which these drugs were used and the numerous consequences resulting from such actions. The results of this research will allow professionals at the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission to inform state officials on the most cost-effective methods of prescription drug abuse prevention and intervention.

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2013-05

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The factor structure of the externalizing spectrum in adolescence and the role of GABRA2

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The present study tested the factor structure of the externalizing disorders (e.g. attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), conduct disorder (SE), and substance experimentation (SE) ) in adolescence. In addition, this study tested the influence of the GABRA2 gene on the factors

The present study tested the factor structure of the externalizing disorders (e.g. attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), conduct disorder (SE), and substance experimentation (SE) ) in adolescence. In addition, this study tested the influence of the GABRA2 gene on the factors of the externalizing spectrum. Confirmatory factor analyses were used to test the factor structure of the externalizing spectrum. Specifically, three competing alternate confirmatory factor analytic models were tested: a one-factor model where all disorders loaded onto a single externalizing factor, a two-factor model where CD and SE loaded onto one factor and ADHD loaded onto another, and a three-factor model, where all three disorders loaded onto separate factors. Structural equation modeling was used to test the effect of a GABRA2 SNP, rs279858, on the factors of the externalizing spectrum. Analyses revealed that a three-factor model of externalizing disorders with correlated factors fit the data best. Additionally, GABRA2 had a significant effect on the SE factor in adolescence, but not on the CD or ADHD factors. These findings demonstrate that the externalizing disorders in adolescence share commonalities but also have separate sources of systematic variance. Furthermore, biological mechanisms may act as a unique etiological factor in the development of adolescent substance experimentation.

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2012

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Disentangling the directions of influence among trauma exposure, posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms, and alcohol and drug problems

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The present study utilized longitudinal data from a high-risk community sample (n= 377; 166 trauma-exposed; 54% males; 52% children of alcoholics; 73% non-Hispanic/Latino Caucasian; 22% Hispanic/Latino; 5% other ethnicity) to test a series of hypotheses that may help explain the

The present study utilized longitudinal data from a high-risk community sample (n= 377; 166 trauma-exposed; 54% males; 52% children of alcoholics; 73% non-Hispanic/Latino Caucasian; 22% Hispanic/Latino; 5% other ethnicity) to test a series of hypotheses that may help explain the risk pathways that link traumatic stress, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptomatology, and problematic alcohol and drug use. Specifically, this study examined whether pre-trauma substance use problems increase risk for trauma exposure (the high-risk hypothesis) or PTSD symptoms (the susceptibility hypothesis), whether PTSD symptoms increase risk for later alcohol/drug problems (the self-medication hypothesis), and whether the association between PTSD symptoms and alcohol/drug problems is due to shared risk factors (the shared vulnerability hypothesis). This study also examined the roles of gender and ethnicity in these pathways. A series of logistic and negative binomial regressions were performed in a path analysis framework. A composite pre-trauma family adversity variable was formed from measures of family conflict, family life stress, parental alcoholism, and other parent psychopathology. Results provided the strongest support for the self-medication hypothesis, such that PTSD symptoms predicted higher levels of later alcohol and drug problems among non-Hispanic/Latino Caucasian participants, over and above the influences of pre-trauma family adversity, pre-trauma substance use problems, trauma exposure, and demographic variables. Results partially supported the high-risk hypothesis, such that adolescent substance use problems had a marginally significant unique effect on risk for assaultive violence exposure but not on overall risk for trauma exposure. There was no support for the susceptibility hypothesis, as pre-trauma adolescent substance use problems did not significantly influence risk for PTSD diagnosis/symptoms over and above the influence of pre-trauma family adversity. Finally, there was little support for the shared vulnerability hypothesis. Neither trauma exposure nor preexisting family adversity accounted for the link between PTSD symptoms and later substance use problems. These results add to a growing body of literature in support of the self-medication hypothesis. Findings extend previous research by showing that PTSD symptoms may influence the development of alcohol and drug problems over and above the influence of trauma exposure itself, preexisting family risk factors, and baseline levels of substance use.

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2014