My research is directed toward developing behavioral and pharmacological
methods of reducing and preventing drug abuse. Animals are trained
to self-administer drugs that humans abuse, and several phases of
the addiction process are modeled, such as acquisition, maintenance,
withdrawal, craving, and relapse. Our laboratory tests a number
of therapeutic drugs, such as antidepressants and opioid and dopamine
agonists and antagonists; they have shown considerable efficacy
in reducing drug self-administration. Behavioral methods that are
proving effective are enriching the environment with alternative
nondrug reinforcers; for example, food and sweet-tasting drinking
solutions. Behavioral economic analyses quantify the reinforcing
efficacy of the drug under varied environmental and pharmacological
treatments. Recent work shows that the greatest reduction in drug
self-administration is achieved when behavioral and pharmacological
treatments are combined. We are also interested in the interrelationships
of feeding and drug abuse, and in testing the notion of common reward
mechanisms for drugs, food, and other nondrug substances and events.
Another topic of study in our laboratory is the dependence producing
effect of drugs. We have found that sensitive behavioral performance
measures reveal subtle behavioral deficits due to drug withdrawal
when no physical signs are present. Further, these behavioral deficits
last for long periods of time, and may be a factor contributing
to relapse to drug abuse in humans. Behavioral disturbances have
been measured after low drug doses and short or intermittent periods
of access with drugs such as caffeine, nicotine, cocaine, and phencyclidine
(PCP), dispelling the common notion that excessive or long term
drug abuse is necessary to produce withdrawal effects. We are using
this model to find pharmacological and behavioral strategies to
relieve withdrawal distress.
(For a comprehensive list of recent publications, refer to PubMed, a service provided by the National Library of Medicine.)
Anker JJ, Brimijoin S, Gao Y, Geng L, Zlebnik NE, Parks RJ, Carroll ME. Cocaine Hydrolase Encoded in Viral Vector Blocks the Reinstatement of Cocaine Seeking in Rats for 6 Months. Biol Psychiatry. 2011 Dec 29.
Holtz NA, Carroll ME. Baclofen has opposite effects on escalation of cocaine self-administration: increased intake in rats selectively bred for high (HiS) saccharin intake and decreased intake in those selected for low (LoS) saccharin intake. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2011 Dec;100(2):275-83.
Holtz NA, Lozama A, Prisinzano TE, Carroll ME. Reinstatement of methamphetamine seeking in male and female rats treated with modafinil and allopregnanolone. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2012 Jan 1;120(1-3):233-7.
Anker JJ, Carroll ME. Females are more vulnerable to drug abuse than males: evidence from preclinical studies and the role of ovarian hormones. Curr Top Behav Neurosci. 2011;8:73-96.
Anker JJ, Carroll ME. Adolescent nicotine exposure sensitizes cue-induced reinstatement of cocaine seeking in rats bred for high and low saccharin intake. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2011 Oct 1;118(1):68-72.
Anker JJ, Zlebnik NE, Navin SF, Carroll ME. Responding during signaled availability and nonavailability of iv cocaine and food in rats: age and sex differences. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2011 Jun;215(4):785-99.
Carroll ME, Gao Y, Brimijoin S, Anker JJ. Effects of cocaine hydrolase on cocaine self-administration under a PR schedule and during extended access (escalation) in rats. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2011 Feb;213(4):817-29.
Anker JJ, Zlebnik NE, Carroll ME. Differential effects of allopregnanolone on the escalation of cocaine self-administration and sucrose intake in female rats.Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2010 Oct;212(3):419-29.
Anker JJ, Carroll ME. The role of progestins in the behavioral effects of cocaine and other drugs of abuse: human and animal research. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2010 Nov;35(2):315-33.
Zlebnik NE, Anker JJ, Gliddon LA, Carroll ME. Reduction of extinction and reinstatement of cocaine seeking by wheel running in female rats. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2010 Mar;209(1):113-25.
Anker JJ, Carroll ME. Sex differences in the effects of allopregnanolone on yohimbine-induced reinstatement of cocaine seeking in rats. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2010 Mar 1;107(2-3):264-7.
Anker JJ, Carroll ME. Reinstatement of cocaine seeking induced by drugs, cues, and stress in adolescent and adult rats. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2010 Feb;208(2):211-22.
Carroll ME, Anker JJ. Sex differences and ovarian hormones in animal models of drug dependence. Horm Behav. 2010 Jun;58(1):44-56.
Current Graduate Students:
Natalie Zlebnik (Neuroscience, University of Minnesota).
Former Graduate Students:
(Ph.D. 2006, Neuroscience, University of Minnesota).