Nicotine as a typical drug of abuse in experimental animals and humans

Preclinical Pharmacology Section, Behavioral Neuroscience Research Branch, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, Baltimore, MD 21224, USA.
Psychopharmacology (Impact Factor: 3.88). 04/2006; 184(3-4):367-81. DOI: 10.1007/s00213-005-0155-8
Source: PubMed


Tobacco use through cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the developed world. Nicotine, a psychoactive component of tobacco, appears to play a major role in tobacco dependence, but reinforcing effects of nicotine often are difficult to demonstrate directly in controlled laboratory studies with animal or human subjects.
To review the major findings obtained with various procedures developed to study dependence-related behavioral effects of nicotine in experimental animals and humans, i.e., drug self-administration, conditioned place preference, subjective reports of nicotine effects and nicotine discrimination, withdrawal signs, and ratings of drug withdrawal.
Nicotine can function as an effective reinforcer of drug-seeking and drug-taking behavior both in experimental animals and humans under appropriate conditions. Interruption of chronic nicotine exposure produces withdrawal symptoms that may contribute to relapse. Difficulties encountered in demonstrating reinforcing effects of nicotine under some conditions, relative to other drugs of abuse, may be due to weaker primary reinforcing effects of nicotine or to a more critical contribution of environmental stimuli to the maintenance of drug-seeking and drug-taking behavior with nicotine than with other drugs of abuse. Further experiments are also needed to delineate the role other chemical substances inhaled along with nicotine in tobacco smoke play in sustaining smoking behavior.
Nicotine acts as a typical drug of abuse in experimental animals and humans.

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    • "Stressful conditions and negative life events facilitate the initiation and maintenance of tobacco smoking (Anda et al., 1999; Morissette et al., 2007) and can alter the behaviour of tobacco addicted individuals by increasing the drug intake and the urge to smoke, as well as precipitating the relapse to smoking behavior (Todd, 2004). Nicotine, the major psychoactive component of tobacco smoke, is considered to be the key compound mediating the primary reinforcement stimulus leading to tobacco addiction (Le Foll and Goldberg, 2006). "
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    ABSTRACT: Stress is well known to affect responsiveness to drugs of abuse and influencing approaching and drug-taking behaviour in both animals and humans. Consistently, in nicotine addicted subjects both negative events and perceived stress levels are reported to increase drug use and facilitate relapse to smoke even after long periods of abstinence. It has been suggested that stressful stimuli may influence the rewarding properties of abused drugs by acting on the dopaminergic mesolimbic system. In line with this hypothesis, a recent microdialysis study in rats has shown that acute restraint stress exposure prevents the nicotine-induced mesolimbic dopaminergic activation in the nucleus accumbens (NAC) shell via a corticosterone-mediated mechanism. In the present study we sought to evaluate the impact of acute restraint stress on nicotine-induced activation of the mesoaccumbal dopaminergic system by extracellular single unit recordings of antidromically-identified NAC shell projecting dopaminergic neurons within the Ventral Tegmental Area (VTA). Nicotine intravenous administration dose-dependently (0.05–0.4 mg/kg) stimulated the spontaneous firing and bursting of mesoaccumbal dopaminergic neurons in unstressed rats, as previously reported. By contrast, nicotine failed to increase mesoaccumbal dopaminergic neuron activity in rats previously exposed to one-hour immobilisation stress. Our observations show that acute restraint stress inhibits the response of the mesoaccumbal dopaminergic system to the stimulating properties of nicotine. These findings corroborate the notion that stress reduces the sensitivity to nicotine and suggest that the decreased dopaminergic release in the NAC shell is due to a reduced firing and bursting activity in the VTA.
    European neuropsychopharmacology: the journal of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology 07/2014; 24(7). DOI:10.1016/j.euroneuro.2014.01.003 · 4.37 Impact Factor
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    • "Nicotine, which is the major addictive component in tobacco , plays a critical role in initial tobacco reinforcement and dependence (Le Foll and Goldberg, 2006). Although many factors influence ongoing nicotine dependence, relapse to smoking is highly correlated with the severity of withdrawal symptoms present during abstinence (Ockene et al., 2000; Krall et al., 2002). "
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    ABSTRACT: While nicotine mediates its effects through several nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) subtypes, it remains to be determined which nAChR subtypes directly mediate heightened anxiety during withdrawal. Relative success in abstinence has been found with the nAChR partial agonist Varenicline (Chantix; Pfizer), however treatment with this drug fails to alleviate anxiety in individuals during nicotine withdrawal. Therefore, it is hypothesized that success can be found by the repurposing of other nAChR partial agonists for cessation therapies that target anxiety. Interestingly, the selective partial agonists for α4β2, ABT-089, and α7, ABT-107, (AbbVie) have not been evaluated as possible therapeutics for nicotine cessation. Therefore we examined the effect of ABT-089 and ABT-107 on anxiety during withdrawal from nicotine in the novelty-induced hypophagia (NIH) paradigm. We found that acute ABT-089 and ABT-107 alleviate anxiety-like behavior during withdrawal from nicotine while chronic ABT-089 but not chronic ABT-107 reduces anxiety-like behavior during withdrawal. Following behavioral testing, brains were harvested and beta2-containing nAChRs were measured using [3H]Epibaditine. ABT-089 and ABT-107 do not upregulate nAChRs, which is in contrast to the upregulation of nAChRs observed following nicotine. Furthermore, ABT-089 is anxiogenic in nicotine naive animals, suggesting that the effects on anxiety are specifically related to the nicotine-dependent state. Together, these studies identify additional nAChR partial agonists that may aid in the rational development of smoking cessation aids.
    Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 03/2014; 349(2). DOI:10.1124/jpet.113.211706 · 3.97 Impact Factor
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    • "Nicotine is considered as the major addictive component of tobacco smoke, resulting in addiction in humans [1,2]. According to the World Health Organization, nicotine addiction is a global health problem affecting one-third of the population [3]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Nicotine is rapidly absorbed from cigarette smoke and therefore induces a number of chronic illnesses with the widespread use of tobacco products. Studies have shown a few cerebral metabolites modified by nicotine; however, endogenous metabolic profiling in brain has not been well explored. H NMR-based on metabonomics was applied to investigate the endogenous metabolic profiling of brain hippocampus, nucleus acumens (NAc), prefrontal cortex (PFC) and striatum. We found that nicotine significantly increased CPP in mice, and some specific cerebral metabolites differentially changed in nicotine-treated mice. These modified metabolites included glutamate, acetylcholine, tryptamine, glucose, lactate, creatine, 3-hydroxybutyrate and nicotinamide-adenine dinucleotide (NAD), which was closely associated with neurotransmitter and energy source. Additionally, glutathione and taurine in hippocampus and striatum, phosphocholine in PFC and glycerol in NAc were significantly modified by nicotine, implying the dysregulation of anti-oxidative stress response and membrane metabolism. Nicotine induces significant metabonomic alterations in brain, which are involved in neurotransmitter disturbance, energy metabolism dysregulation, anti-oxidation and membrane function disruptions, as well as amino acid metabolism imbalance. These findings provide a new insight into rewarding effects of nicotine and the underlying mechanism.
    BMC Neuroscience 02/2014; 15(1):32. DOI:10.1186/1471-2202-15-32 · 2.67 Impact Factor
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