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Behavioral and biochemical manifestations of mecamylamine-precipitated nicotine withdrawal in the rat: Role of nicotinic receptors in the ventral tegmental area

Eli Lilly, Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
Neuropsychopharmacology (Impact Factor: 7.83). 11/1999; 21(4):560-74. DOI: 10.1016/S0893-133X(99)00055-X
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Brain mesolimbic dopamine (DA) neurons are considered critical for the dependence-producing action of nicotine, and its stimulatory effect on behavior and DA neurotransmission appears largely mediated via nicotinic receptors (nAChRs) in the ventral tegmental area (VTA). The nAChR antagonist mecamylamine administered systemically in chronically nicotine-treated rats elicits a behavioral withdrawal syndrome concomitant with a reduced DA output in the nucleus accumbens (NAC). Here, we investigated the behavioral and biochemical consequences of intrategmental administration of mecamylamine in rats chronically infused with nicotine by means of minipumps for 14 days (9 mg/kg/day). Bilateral, intrategmental mecamylamine injections (1, 3 or 9 micrograms/0.5 microliter/side) dose-dependently increased abstinence signs such as gasps, teeth chatter, and reduced locomotor activity in nicotine-treated, but not in control animals. Moreover, a unilateral intrategmental injection of 9 micrograms mecamylamine reduced DA output in the ipsilateral NAC of chronically nicotine-treated rats, but not in control animals. Consequently, nAChRs in the VTA may be involved not only in the stimulatory effects of acute nicotine administration, but also in the withdrawal reaction following cessation of chronic nicotine treatment.

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