Laura E O'Dell

University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX, United States

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Publications (37)192.19 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Adolescence is a unique period of development characterized by enhanced tobacco use and long-term vulnerability to neurochemical changes produced by adolescent nicotine exposure. In order to understand the underlying mechanisms that contribute to developmental differences in tobacco use, this study compared changes in cholinergic transmission during nicotine exposure and withdrawal in naïve adult rats compared to (1) adolescent rats and (2) adult rats that were pre-exposed to nicotine during adolescence. The first study compared extracellular levels of acetylcholine (ACh) in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) during nicotine exposure and precipitated withdrawal using microdialysis procedures. Adolescent (postnatal day, PND, 28-42) and adult rats (PND60-74) were prepared with osmotic pumps that delivered nicotine for 14 days (adolescents 4.7 mg/kg/day; adults 3.2 mg/kg/day; expressed as base). Another group of adults was exposed to nicotine during adolescence and then again in adulthood (pre-exposed adults) using similar methods. Control rats received a sham surgery. Following 13 days of nicotine exposure, the rats were implanted with microdialysis probes in the NAc. The following day, dialysis samples were collected during baseline and following systemic administration of the nicotinic receptor antagonist mecamylamine (1.5 and 3.0 mg/kg, i.p.) to precipitate withdrawal. A second study compared various metabolic differences in cholinergic transmission using the same treatment procedures as the first study. Following 14 days of nicotine exposure, the NAc was dissected and acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity was compared across groups. In order to examine potential group differences in nicotine metabolism, blood plasma levels of cotinine (a nicotine metabolite) were also compared following 14 days of nicotine exposure. The results from the first study revealed that nicotine exposure increased baseline ACh levels to a greater extent in adolescent versus adult rats. During nicotine withdrawal, ACh levels in the NAc were increased in a similar manner in adolescent versus adult rats. However, the increase in ACh that was observed in adult rats experiencing nicotine withdrawal was blunted in pre-exposed adults. These neurochemical effects do not appear to be related to nicotine metabolism, as plasma cotinine levels were similar across all groups. The second study revealed that nicotine exposure increased AChE activity in the NAc to a greater extent in adolescent versus adult rats. There was no difference in AChE activity in pre-exposed versus naïve adult rats. In conclusion, our results suggest that nicotine exposure during adolescence enhances baseline ACh in the NAc. However, the finding that ACh levels were similar during withdrawal in adolescent and adult rats suggests that the enhanced vulnerability to tobacco use during adolescence is not related to age differences in withdrawal-induced increases in cholinergic transmission. Our results also suggest that exposure to nicotine during adolescence suppresses withdrawal-induced increases in cholinergic responses during withdrawal. Taken together, this report illustrates important short- and long-term changes within cholinergic systems that may contribute to the enhanced susceptibility to tobacco use during adolescence. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.
    Developmental neuroscience. 05/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: This study compared nicotine intake and changes in food intake and weight gain in naïve adolescent, naïve adult, and adult rats that were exposed to nicotine during adolescence. An extended intravenous self-administration (IVSA) model was used whereby rats had 23-hour access to saline or increasing doses of nicotine (0.03, 0.06, and 0.09mg/kg/0.1mL infusion) for 4-day intervals separated by 3-day periods of abstinence. Rats began IVSA as adolescents (PND 32-34) or adults (PND 75). A separate group of rats was exposed to nicotine via osmotic pumps (4.7mg/kg) for 14 days during adolescence and then began nicotine IVSA as adults (PND 75). The rats that completed the nicotine IVSA regimen were also tested for nicotine-seeking behavior during extinction. The results revealed that nicotine intake was highest in adolescents followed by adults that were pre-exposed to nicotine during adolescence as compared to naïve adults. A similar pattern of nicotine-seeking behavior was observed during extinction. In contrast to nicotine intake, naïve adults displayed robust appetite and weight suppressant effects of nicotine, an effect that was absent in adolescents and adults that were pre-exposed to nicotine during adolescence. Our findings suggest that adolescence is a unique period of enhanced vulnerability to the reinforcing effects of nicotine. Although adolescents gain weight faster than adults, the food intake and weight suppressant effects of nicotine are reduced during adolescence. Importantly, our findings suggest that adolescent nicotine exposure produces long-lasting consequences that enhance nicotine reward and promote tolerance to the anorectic effects of this drug.
    Behavioural brain research 10/2013; · 3.22 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Ethanol (EtOH) abuse is a major health and economic concern, particularly for females who appear to be more sensitive to the rewarding effects of EtOH. This study compared sex differences to the rewarding and aversive effects of EtOH using place-conditioning procedures in rats. Separate groups of adult (male, female, ovariectomized [OVX] female) and adolescent (male and female) rats received EtOH (0, 0.5, 1.0, 2.0, or 2.5 g/kg, intraperitoneal) and were confined to their initially nonpreferred side of our conditioning apparatus for 30 minutes. On alternate days, they received saline and were confined to the other side. Following 5 drug pairings, the rats were retested for preference behavior. Separate cohorts of the same groups of rats were injected with a similar dose range of EtOH, and blood EtOH levels (BELs) were compared 30 minutes later. EtOH produced rewarding or aversive effects in a dose-dependent manner. An intermediate dose of EtOH (1.0 g/kg) produced rewarding effects in adult female, but not in male or OVX female rats, suggesting that ovarian hormones facilitate the rewarding effects of EtOH. Similarly, this intermediate dose of EtOH produced rewarding effects in adolescent female, but not in male rats. The highest dose of EtOH (2.5 g/kg) produced aversive effects that were similar across all adult groups. However, the aversive effects of EtOH were lower in adolescents than adults, suggesting that adolescents are less sensitive to the aversive effects of EtOH. The aversive effects of EtOH did not vary across the estrous cycle in intact adult females. There were also no group differences in BELs, suggesting that our results are not related to EtOH metabolism. Our results in rats suggest that human females may be more vulnerable to EtOH abuse due to enhanced rewarding effects of this drug that are mediated by the presence of ovarian hormones.
    Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research 08/2013; · 3.42 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Patients with diabetes display a heightened propensity to use tobacco; however, it is unclear whether they experience enhanced rewarding effects of nicotine. Thus, this study examined the reinforcing effects of nicotine in a rodent model of diabetes involving administration of streptozotocin (STZ), a drug that is toxic to pancreatic insulin-producing cells. The first study compared STZ- and vehicle-treated rats that had 23-hour access to intravenous self-administration (IVSA) of nicotine or saline and concomitant access to food and water. In order to examine the contribution of dopamine to our behavioral effects, dopamine transporter (DAT), D1 and D2 receptor levels were compared in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) following 10 days of nicotine or saline IVSA. Dopamine levels in the NAc were also compared following nicotine administration. Lastly, nicotine metabolism and dose-dependent effects of nicotine IVSA were assessed. The results revealed that STZ-treated rats displayed enhanced nicotine intake and a robust increase in food and water intake relative to controls. Protein analysis revealed an increase in DAT and a decrease in D1 receptor levels in the NAc of STZ- versus vehicle-treated rats regardless of IVSA condition. STZ-treated rats also displayed suppressed NAc dopamine levels during baseline and in response to nicotine. STZ treatment did not alter our assessment of nicotine metabolism. Furthermore, STZ treatment increased nicotine IVSA in a dose-dependent manner. Our findings suggest that STZ-treatment increased the rewarding effects of nicotine. This suggests that strong reinforcing effects of nicotine may contribute to greater tobacco use in patients with diabetes.
    Addiction Biology 07/2013; · 5.91 Impact Factor
  • Laura E O'Dell, Oscar V Torres
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    ABSTRACT: Women are particularly more vulnerable to tobacco use than men. This review proposes a unifying hypothesis that females experience greater rewarding effects of nicotine and more intense stress produced by withdrawal than males. We also provide a neural framework whereby estrogen promotes greater rewarding effects of nicotine in females via enhanced dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens (NAcc). During withdrawal, we suggest that corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) stress systems are sensitized and promote a greater suppression of dopamine release in the NAcc of females versus males. Taken together, females display enhanced nicotine reward via estrogen and amplified effects of withdrawal via stress systems. Although this framework focuses on sex differences in adult rats, it is also applied to adolescent females who display enhanced rewarding effects of nicotine, but reduced effects of withdrawal from this drug. Since females experience strong rewarding effects of nicotine, a clinical implication of our hypothesis is that specific strategies to prevent smoking initiation among females are critical. Also, anxiolytic medications may be more effective in females that experience intense stress during withdrawal. Furthermore, medications that target withdrawal should not be applied in a unilateral manner across age and sex, given that nicotine withdrawal is lower during adolescence. This review highlights key factors that promote nicotine use in females, and future studies on sex-dependent interactions of stress and reward systems are needed to test our mechanistic hypotheses. Future studies in this area will have important translational value toward reducing health disparities produced by nicotine use in females.
    Neuropharmacology 05/2013; · 4.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Stress is a major factor that promotes tobacco use and relapse during withdrawal. Although women are more vulnerable to tobacco use than men, the manner in which stress contributes to tobacco use in women versus men is unclear. Thus, the goal of this study was to compare behavioral and biological indices of stress in male and female rats during nicotine withdrawal. Since the effects of nicotine withdrawal are age-dependent, this study also included adolescent rats. An initial study was conducted to provide comparable nicotine doses across age and sex during nicotine exposure and withdrawal. Rats received sham surgery or an osmotic pump that delivered nicotine. After 14 days of nicotine, the pumps were removed and controls received a sham surgery. Twenty-four hours later, anxiety-like behavior and plasma corticosterone were assessed. The nucleus accumbens (NAcc), amygdala, and hypothalamus were examined for changes in corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) gene expression. In order to differentiate the effects of nicotine withdrawal from exposure to nicotine, a cohort of rats did not have their pumps removed. The major finding is that during nicotine withdrawal, adult females display higher levels of anxiety-like behavior, plasma corticosterone, and CRF mRNA expression in the NAcc relative to adult males. However, during nicotine exposure, adult males exhibited higher levels of corticosterone and CRF mRNA in the amygdala relative to females. Adolescents displayed less nicotine withdrawal than adults. Moreover, adolescent males displayed an increase in anxiety-like behavior and an up-regulation of CRF mRNA in the amygdala during nicotine exposure and withdrawal. These findings are likely related to stress produced by the high doses of nicotine that were administered to adolescents to produce equivalent levels of cotinine as adults. In conclusion, these findings suggest that intense stress produced by nicotine withdrawal may contribute to tobacco use in women.
    Frontiers in Psychiatry 01/2013; 4:38.
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    ABSTRACT: Adolescent smokers report enhanced positive responses to tobacco and fewer negative effects of withdrawal from this drug than adults, and this is believed to propel higher tobacco use during adolescence. Differential dopaminergic responses to nicotine are thought to underlie these age-related effects, as adolescent rats experience lower withdrawal-related deficits in nucleus accumbens (NAcc) dopamine versus adults. This study examined whether age differences in NAcc dopamine during withdrawal are mediated by excitatory or inhibitory transmission in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) dopamine cell body region. In vivo microdialysis was used to monitor extracellular levels of glutamate and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the VTA of adolescent and adult rats experiencing nicotine withdrawal. In adults, nicotine withdrawal produced decreases in VTA glutamate levels (44% decrease) and increases in VTA GABA levels (38% increase). In contrast, adolescents did not exhibit changes in either of these measures. Naïve controls of both ages did not display changes in NAcc dopamine, VTA glutamate, or VTA GABA following mecamylamine. These results indicate that adolescents display resistance to withdrawal-related neurochemical processes that inhibit mesolimbic dopamine function in adults experiencing nicotine withdrawal. Our findings provide a potential mechanism involving VTA amino acid neurotransmission that modulates age differences during withdrawal.
    Journal of Neurochemistry 08/2012; 123(4):578-88. · 3.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mechanisms that mediate age differences during nicotine withdrawal are unclear. This study compared kappa-opioid receptor (KOR) activation in naïve and nicotine-treated adolescent and adult rats using behavioral and neurochemical approaches to study withdrawal. The behavioral models used to assess withdrawal included conditioned place and elevated plus maze procedures. Deficits in dopamine transmission in the nucleus accumbens (NAcc) were examined using microdialysis procedures. Lastly, the effects of KOR stimulation and blockade on physical signs produced upon removal of nicotine were examined in adults. Nicotine-treated adults displayed a robust aversion to an environment paired with a KOR agonist versus naïve adults. Neither of the adolescent groups displayed a place aversion. KOR activation produced an increase in anxiety-like behavior that was highest in nicotine-treated adults versus all other groups. KOR activation produced a decrease in NAcc dopamine that was largest in nicotine-treated adults versus all other groups. Lastly, KOR activation facilitated physical signs of withdrawal upon removal of nicotine and KOR blockade reduced this effect. Chronic nicotine enhanced the affective, anxiogenic, and neurochemical effects produced by KOR activation in adult rats. Our data suggest that chronic nicotine elicits an increase in KOR function, and this may contribute to nicotine withdrawal since KOR activation facilitated and KOR blockade prevented withdrawal signs upon removal of nicotine. Given that chronic nicotine facilitated the neurochemical effects of KOR agonists in adults but not in adolescents, it is suggested that KOR regulation of mesolimbic dopamine may contribute to age differences in nicotine withdrawal.
    Psychopharmacology 06/2012; 224(2):289-301. · 4.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Nicotine induces weight loss in both humans and rodents consuming a regular diet; however, the effect of nicotine on body weight and fat composition in rodents consuming a high-fat diet (HFD) has not been well studied. Thus, this study examined the effect of nicotine vs saline on body weight and fat composition in mice fed with either an HFD (62% of kcal from fat) or a standard normal chow diet (NCD) for 7 weeks. Nicotine dose dependently reduced body weight gain in mice that consumed both diets, but this effect was significantly greater in mice on the HFD. Caloric intake was decreased in nicotine-treated mice. Estimates of energy intake suggested that decreased caloric intake accounted for all the reduced weight gain in mice on an NCD and 66% of the reduced weight gain on an HFD. Computed tomography analysis for fat distribution demonstrated that nicotine was effective in reducing abdominal fat in mice that consumed the HFD, with nicotine treatment leading to lower visceral fat. The effect of nicotine on weight loss in mice on an HFD was completely blocked by mecamylamine, a nonselective nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) antagonist, but only partially blocked by the α4β2 nAChR partial agonist/antagonist, varenicline. We conclude that nicotine is effective in preventing HFD-induced weight gain and abdominal fat accumulation.
    Journal of Endocrinology 12/2011; 212(3):317-26. · 4.06 Impact Factor
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    Laura E O'Dell
    Neuropsychopharmacology: official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology 01/2011; 36(1):356-7. · 8.68 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Opioid abuse has increased in the last decade, primarily as a result of increased access to prescription opioids. Physicians are also increasingly administering opioid analgesics for noncancer chronic pain. Thus, knowledge of the long-term consequences of opioid use/abuse has important implications for fully evaluating the clinical usefulness of opioid medications. Many studies have examined the effect of opioids on the endocrine system; however, a systematic review of the endocrine actions of opioids in both humans and animals has, to our knowledge, not been published since 1984. Thus, we reviewed the literature on the effect of opioids on the endocrine system. We included both acute and chronic effects of opioids, with the majority of the studies done on the acute effects although chronic effects are more physiologically relevant. In humans and laboratory animals, opioids generally increase GH and prolactin and decrease LH, testosterone, estradiol, and oxytocin. In humans, opioids increase TSH, whereas in rodents, TSH is decreased. In both rodents and humans, the reports of effects of opioids on arginine vasopressin and ACTH are conflicting. Opioids act preferentially at different receptor sites leading to stimulatory or inhibitory effects on hormone release. Increasing opioid abuse primarily leads to hypogonadism but may also affect the secretion of other pituitary hormones. The potential consequences of hypogonadism include decreased libido and erectile dysfunction in men, oligomenorrhea or amenorrhea in women, and bone loss or infertility in both sexes. Opioids may increase or decrease food intake, depending on the type of opioid and the duration of action. Additionally, opioids may act through the sympathetic nervous system to cause hyperglycemia and impaired insulin secretion. In this review, recent information regarding endocrine disorders among opioid abusers is presented.
    Endocrine reviews 11/2009; 31(1):98-132. · 19.76 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The behavioral effects of nicotine withdrawal are lower in adolescent versus adult rats. However, the neurochemical mechanisms that mediate these developmental differences are unknown. Previous studies have shown that extracellular levels of dopamine in the nucleus accumbens (NAcc) are reduced in adult rats experiencing withdrawal. This study compared dopamine levels in the NAcc of male adolescent and adult rats experiencing nicotine withdrawal. Animals were prepared with subcutaneous pumps that delivered an equivalent nicotine dose in these age groups. Following 13 days of nicotine exposure, rats were implanted unilaterally with microdialysis probes into the NAcc and ipsilateral ventral tegmental area (VTA). The next day, dialysate levels were collected following systemic administration of the nicotinic-receptor antagonist mecamylamine to precipitate withdrawal. Mecamylamine produced an average % decrease in NAcc dopamine that was lower in adolescents (20%) versus adults (44%). Similar developmental differences were observed with the dopaminergic (DOPAC and HVA) but not serotonergic (5-HIAA) metabolites. A follow-up study compared NAcc dopamine in adolescent and adult rats receiving intra-VTA administration of bicuculline, which reduces gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) inhibition of dopamine transmission. The results revealed that blockade of GABA(A) receptors in the VTA produced a two-fold increase in NAcc dopamine of adults but not adolescents. These results provide a potential mechanism involving dopamine that mediates developmental differences in nicotine withdrawal. Specifically, they suggest that GABA systems are underdeveloped during adolescence and this reduced inhibition of dopamine neurons in the VTA may lead to reduced decreases in NAcc dopamine of young animals experiencing withdrawal.
    Synapse 09/2009; 64(2):136-45. · 2.31 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The impact of serotonergic neurotransmission on brain dopaminergic pathways has substantial relevance to many neuropsychiatric disorders. A particularly prominent role has been ascribed to the inhibitory effects of serotonin 2C receptor (5-HT(2C)R) activation on physiology and behavior mediated by the mesolimbic dopaminergic pathway, particularly in the terminal region of the nucleus accumbens. The influence of this receptor subtype on functions mediated by the nigrostriatal dopaminergic pathway is less clear. Here we report that a null mutation eliminating expression of 5-HT(2C)Rs produces marked alterations in the activity and functional output of this pathway. 5-HT(2C)R mutant mice displayed increased activity of substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc) dopaminergic neurons, elevated baseline extracellular dopamine concentrations in the dorsal striatum (DSt), alterations in grooming behavior, and enhanced sensitivity to the stereotypic behavioral effects of d-amphetamine and GBR 12909. These psychostimulant responses occurred in the absence of phenotypic differences in drug-induced extracellular dopamine concentration, suggesting a phenotypic alteration in behavioral responses to released dopamine. This was further suggested by enhanced behavioral responses of mutant mice to the D(1) receptor agonist SKF 81297. Differences in DSt D(1) or D(2) receptor expression were not found, nor were differences in medium spiny neuron firing patterns or intrinsic membrane properties following dopamine stimulation. We conclude that 5-HT(2C)Rs regulate nigrostriatal dopaminergic activity and function both at SNc dopaminergic neurons and at a locus downstream of the DSt.
    Journal of Neuroscience 07/2009; 29(25):8156-65. · 6.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The juxtacapsular bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (jcBNST) is activated in response to basolateral amygdala (BLA) inputs through the stria terminalis and projects back to the anterior BLA and to the central nucleus of the amygdala. Here we show a form of long-term potentiation of the intrinsic excitability (LTP-IE) of jcBNST neurons in response to high-frequency stimulation of the stria terminalis. This LTP-IE, which was characterized by a decrease in the firing threshold and increased temporal fidelity of firing, was impaired during protracted withdrawal from self-administration of alcohol, cocaine, and heroin. Such impairment was graded and was more pronounced in rats that self-administered amounts of the drugs sufficient to maintain dependence. Dysregulation of the corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) system has been implicated in manifestation of protracted withdrawal from dependent drug use. Administration of the selective corticotropin-releasing factor receptor 1 (CRF(1)) antagonist R121919 [2,5-dimethyl-3-(6-dimethyl-4-methylpyridin-3-yl)-7-dipropylamino-pyrazolo[1,5-a]pyrimidine)], but not of the CRF(2) antagonist astressin(2)-B, normalized jcBNST LTP-IE in animals with a history of alcohol dependence; repeated, but not acute, administration of CRF itself produced a decreased jcBNST LTP-IE. Thus, changes in the intrinsic properties of jcBNST neurons mediated by chronic activation of the CRF system may contribute to the persistent emotional dysregulation associated with protracted withdrawal.
    Journal of Neuroscience 05/2009; 29(17):5389-401. · 6.91 Impact Factor
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    Laura E O'Dell, Taline V Khroyan
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    ABSTRACT: Tobacco products are widely abused in humans, and it is assumed that nicotine is the key substrate in these products that produces addiction. Based on this assumption, several pre-clinical studies have utilized animal models to measure various aspects of nicotine addiction. Most of this work has focused on behavioral measures of nicotine and how other variables contribute to these effects. Here we discuss the most commonly used animal models including, self-administration (SA), place conditioning (PC), and the intracranial self-stimulation (ICSS) paradigms in rodents. The strengths, limitations and procedural variables of these models are reviewed, followed by a discussion of how the animal models have been used to study factors such as age, sex, stress, and the effects of tobacco products other than nicotine. These factors are discussed in light of their influences on human tobacco abuse. The rodent models are evaluated in the context of face, predictive, and construct validity, and we propose that inclusion of factors such as age, sex, stress and other constituents of tobacco aside from nicotine can increase the utility of these animal models by more closely mimicking human tobacco abuse.
    Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior 01/2009; 91(4):481-8. · 2.61 Impact Factor
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    Laura E O'Dell
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    ABSTRACT: Adolescents are especially likely to initiate tobacco use and are more vulnerable to long-term nicotine dependence. A unifying hypothesis is proposed based largely on animals studies that adolescents, as compared to adults, experience enhanced short-term positive and reduced aversive effects of nicotine, as well as less negative effects during nicotine withdrawal. Thus, during adolescence the strong positive effects of nicotine are inadequately balanced by negative effects that contribute to nicotine dependence in adults. This review provides a neural framework to explain developmental differences within the mesolimbic pathway based on the established role of dopamine in addiction. This pathway originates in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and terminates in the nucleus accumbens (NAcc) where dopamine is increased by nicotine but decreased during withdrawal. During adolescence, excitatory glutamatergic systems that facilitate dopamine are overdeveloped, whereas inhibitory GABAergic systems are underdeveloped. Thus, it is hypothesized that adolescents display enhanced nicotine reward and reduced withdrawal via enhanced excitation and reduced inhibition of VTA cell bodies that release dopamine in the NAcc. Although this framework focuses on adolescents and adults, it may also apply to the understanding of enhanced vulnerability to nicotine in adults that were previously exposed to nicotine during adolescence. The hypothesis presented in this review suggests that the clinical diagnostic criteria developed for nicotine dependence in adults, based primarily on withdrawal, may be inappropriate during adolescence when nicotine withdrawal does not appear to play a major role in nicotine use. Furthermore, treatment strategies involving nicotine replacement may be harmful for adolescents because it may cause enhanced vulnerability to nicotine dependence later in adulthood.
    Neuropharmacology 09/2008; 56 Suppl 1:263-78. · 4.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Gabapentin is a structural analog of GABA that has anticonvulsant properties. Despite the therapeutic efficacy of gabapentin, its molecular and cellular mechanisms of action are unclear. The GABAergic system in the central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA) plays an important role in regulating voluntary ethanol intake. Here, we investigated the effect of gabapentin on GABAergic transmission in CeA slices, on ethanol intake, and on an anxiety measure using animal models of ethanol dependence. Gabapentin increased the amplitudes of evoked GABA receptor-mediated IPSCs (GABA-IPSCs) in CeA neurons from nondependent rats, but decreased their amplitudes in CeA of ethanol-dependent rats. Gabapentin effects were blocked in the presence of a specific GABA(B) receptor antagonist. The sensitivity of the GABA-IPSCs to a GABA(B) receptor antagonist and an agonist was decreased after chronic ethanol, suggesting that ethanol-induced neuroadaptations of GABA(B) receptors associated with ethanol dependence may account for the differential effects of gabapentin after chronic ethanol. Systemic gabapentin reduced ethanol intake in dependent, but not in nondependent, rats and reversed the anxiogenic-like effects of ethanol abstinence using an acute dependence model. Gabapentin infused directly into the CeA also blocked dependence-induced elevation in operant ethanol responding. Collectively, these findings show that gabapentin reverses behavioral measures of ethanol dependence and, in turn, dependence reverses the effects of gabapentin on CeA neurons, and suggest that gabapentin represents a potential medication for treatment of alcoholism.
    Journal of Neuroscience 06/2008; 28(22):5762-71. · 6.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study compared the rewarding and aversive effects of nicotine in adolescent, adult, and adult rats preexposed to nicotine during adolescence. Prior to conditioning, the rats were tested for their initial preference for either of 2 distinct compartments. Adolescent and adult rats then received various nicotine doses in their initially non-preferred side on one day and saline in the other side on alternate days. This 2-day procedure was repeated over 8 consecutive days. Following conditioning, rats were re-tested for their preference. Another cohort of adolescent and adult rats were conditioned with various doses of D-amphetamine. Nicotine produced CPP in an inverted U-shaped manner in both age groups. However, adolescents displayed a larger upward shift in CPP that was significant across a wider dose range relative to adults. There were no developmental differences to CPP produced by D-amphetamine. In a final study, adolescents were prepared with pumps that delivered nicotine for 14 days. These rats were conditioned later as adults using the same procedures used previously. Pre-exposure to nicotine during adolescence diminished the aversive effects produced by the highest nicotine dose in naive adults. Taken together, these studies provide a basis for enhanced vulnerability to nicotine during adolescence.
    Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior 06/2008; 90(4):658-63. · 2.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Nicotine, the main psychoactive ingredient of tobacco, induces negative emotional symptoms during abstinence that contribute to a profound craving for nicotine. However, the neurobiological mechanisms underlying how nicotine produces dependence remains poorly understood. We demonstrate one mechanism for both the anxiety-like symptoms of withdrawal and excessive nicotine intake observed after abstinence, through recruitment of the extrahypothalamic stress peptide corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) system and activation of CRF(1) receptors. Overactivation of the CRF-CRF(1) system may contribute to nicotine dependence and may represent a prominent target for investigating the vulnerability to tobacco addiction.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 11/2007; 104(43):17198-203. · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Acute administration of neuropeptide Y (NPY) modulates alcohol intake in genetic and chemical models of high intake, while leaving intake unaffected during 'normal' or baseline conditions. In non-selected, normal rat lines, alcohol consumption can be increased by prolonged exposure to alcohol, and it is unclear what effect a constitutive increase in NPY function will have on alcohol intake. The purpose of the present study was to examine the effects on alcohol intake of an inducible, constitutive overexpression of NPY, one of the most abundant neuropeptides in the central nervous system. A liquid diet was used in combination with repeated alcohol deprivation sessions to increase alcohol intake in normal Wistar rats. We then examined the effect of NPY overexpression in the amygdala on excessive alcohol intake produced by prolonged exposure to alcohol and alcohol deprivation. Repeated withdrawal increased alcohol consumption in a 24-h continuous access two-bottle choice model. Both the number of withdrawals as well as the length of the withdrawal periods affected alcohol consumption with an increased intake resulting from multiple withdrawals and the alcohol deprivation effect being enhanced by longer periods of abstinence. The increase in intake following repeated abstinence was blunted by intra-amygdala administration of a Sindbis viral vector containing NPY cDNA. Amygdala NPY overexpression also was demonstrated to be anxiolytic in the open field test. Repeated withdrawal in combination with a history of alcohol consumption significantly elevated alcohol intake, and the amygdala may mediate the transition to high-drinking states in this model.
    Brain 06/2007; 130(Pt 5):1330-7. · 9.92 Impact Factor