The effects of acute stress on consummatory and motivational responses for sucrose in rats after long-term withdrawal from morphine

  • Yunjing BaiEmail author
  • Yue Zhang
  • Shaofei Jiang
  • Xigeng Zheng
  • Zhengkui LiuEmail author
Original Investigation



Negative affective states, e.g., anhedonia, may be linked to the long-lasting motivational processes associated with relapse. Here, this study investigated whether, and how, anhedonic states are influenced by stressful events that contribute to craving and relapse.


All male rats were pretreated with a binge-like morphine paradigm for five days. After 12 to 16 days of withdrawal, rats were subjected to a one-hour free consumption test or three operant tasks with increasing cost/benefit ratio, i.e., fixed ratio 1 (FR1), progressive ratio (PR), and PR-punishment procedure of reinforcement, with sucrose solutions of three concentrations (4%, 15%, and 60%) as rewards. The consumption and operant responses under FR1 and PR procedures were measured following exposure to acute foot-shock stress (intermittent foot shock, 0.5 mA × 0.5 s × 10 min; mean intershock interval, 40 s), and the operant responses for 60% sucrose solution under PR-punishment procedure was measured following a forced-swim stress (5 minutes).


Foot-shock stress increased water consumption in a subpopulation of rats and decreased consumption of sucrose solutions, while it did not influence the operant responses for sucrose solutions under either FR1 or PR procedure. The forced-swim stress reduced operant responses for 60% sucrose solution under PR-punishment procedure, but did not influence responding for 60% sucrose solution under PR procedure. In addition, the forced-swim stress also elevated anxiety level of rats in an open area test.


Acute stress induced hedonic but not motivational deficit for sucrose reward in protracted drug-abstinent animals. Additional negative emotional states besides anhedonia were evoked by acute stress.


Anhedonia Protracted abstinence Natural reward Consummatory behavior Motivational behavior 


Funding information

This research was supported by the CAS Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Institute of Psychology (KLMH2016K01) and Evaluation and Intervention Technology Research for Post-traumatic Stress Patients Population (JCYJ20170413170301569). Yunjing Bai is supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (31000463) and Beijing Natural Science Foundation (7192124).

Compliance with ethical standards

This study was approved by the International Review Board (IRB) of the Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and all experiments were conducted in accordance with the National Institutes of Health Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (NIH Publications No.8023, revised 1978).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CAS Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Institute of PsychologyChaoyang DistrictChina
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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