Divergent Behavioral Phenotypes in Conditioned Place Preference

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science

Field of Study

Biomedical Sciences


Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

First Advisor

Michael J. Forster

Second Advisor

Michael B. Gatch

Third Advisor

Ritu Shetty


The addictive properties of psychostimulants have been studied using a variety of animal models and behavioral paradigms. These studies consistently report individual variation in drug response that could reflect subgroups with different susceptibility to addiction. A place conditioning assay was used to assess the possibility that such divergent behavioral phenotypes explain variable outcomes in mice after conditioning with psychostimulants (cocaine, 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), methamphetamine, and d-amphetamine). K-means clustering analysis partitioned individuals into groups (i.e. clusters) for analysis. The reliability of these phenotypes was supported with Pearson correlation analysis comparing adjacent time points, as well as Cronbach’s alpha and intraclass correlation coefficients for overall within-group relatedness at each time point. Furthermore, initial preference developing in a drug-naïve condition was reversed with drug conditioning, demonstrating that changes in salience were sufficient to reverse initial preference in some mice. By purposefully examining these behavioral phenotypes in place conditioning, we advance toward the development of pharmacological strategies for addiction and robust epigenetic outcomes.


Wagner, Alison N., Divergent Behavioral Phenotypes in Conditioned Place Preference. Master of Science (Biomedical Sciences), December, 2017, 57 pp. 3 tables, 21 figures, bibliography, 63 titles. Available worldwide December 2019.

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