Jennifer M. Wenzel

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In addition to its rewarding actions, cocaine has profound negative effects that are unmasked as the rewarding impact of the drug fades. While much is known about the neurobiology of cocaine reward, the mechanisms underlying the negative actions of the drug remain unclear. The current study investigates the role of three brain regions each implicated in the(More)
Alterations in dopamine output within the various subnuclei of the amygdala have previously been implicated in cocaine reinforcement, as well as cocaine-seeking behavior. To elucidate the potential for increased stimulation of D1- and D2-like receptors (D1Rs and D2Rs, respectively) specifically in the central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA) to modulate cue-(More)
Survival is dictated by an organism's fitness in approaching positive stimuli and avoiding harm. While a rich literature outlines a role for mesolimbic dopamine in reward and appetitive behaviors, dopamine's involvement in aversion and avoidance behaviors remains controversial. Debate surrounding dopamine's function in the processing of negative stimuli(More)
The mesolimbic dopamine (DA) system plays an integral role in incentive motivation and reward seeking and a growing body of evidence identifies signal transduction at cannabinoid receptors as a critical modulator of this system. Indeed, administration of exogenous cannabinoids results in burst firing of DA neurons of the ventral tegmental area and increases(More)
Evidence suggests that responsiveness to a drug-paired cue is predicted by the reinforcing magnitude of the drug during prior self-administration. It remains unclear, however, if this principle holds true when comparisons are made across drug reinforcers. The current study was therefore devised to test the hypothesis that differences in the animals’(More)
Cocaine has been shown to produce both initial rewarding and delayed anxiogenic effects. Although the neurobiology of cocaine's rewarding effects has been well studied, the mechanisms underlying its anxiogenic effects remain unclear. We used two behavioral assays to study these opposing actions of cocaine: a runway self-administration test and a modified(More)
We have previously shown that extended-access subjects exhibit heightened motivation for cocaine in the runway model, as reflected by reduced number of retreats. This heightened motivation could reflect either an increase in cocaine-induced reward or a decrease in cocaine-induced aversion. The current experiment was therefore devised to assess the(More)
Cocaine has been shown to have initial positive (euphoric) and delayed negative (anxiogenic) effects in both humans and animals. Cocaine-paired cues are consequently imbued with mixed positive and negative associations. The current study examines the relative roles of these dual associations in the enhanced drug-seeking observed upon presentation of(More)
Marijuana is the most popular illegal drug worldwide. Recent trends indicate that this may soon change; not due to decreased marijuana use, but to an amendment in marijuana's illegal status. The cannabinoid type 1 (CB1) receptor mediates marijuana's psychoactive and reinforcing properties. CB1 receptors are also part of the brain endocannabinoid (eCB)(More)
Rats develop preferences for places associated with the immediate rewarding effects of cocaine and aversions for places paired with the drug’s delayed negative effects. The motivation to seek cocaine should therefore depend upon the relative magnitude of these two opposing effects of the drug. The current study tested this notion by assessing the relative(More)