Robert F Smith

George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, United States

Are you Robert F Smith?

Claim your profile

Publications (19)57.12 Total impact

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Adolescents have an increased vulnerability to nicotine and anxiety may play a role in the development of nicotine abuse. One possible treatment for anxiety disorders and substance abuse is the GABAB agonist, baclofen. The aim of the present study was to determine the effect of anxiety-like behavior on single-trial nicotine conditioned place preference in adolescent rats, and to assess the action of baclofen. Baclofen was shown to have effects on locomotor and anxiety-like behavior in rats divided into high-anxiety and low-anxiety groups. Baclofen decreased locomotor behavior in high-anxiety rats. Baclofen alone failed to produce differences in anxiety-like behavior, but nicotine and baclofen + nicotine administration were anxiolytic. High- and low-anxiety groups also showed differences in single-trial nicotine-induced place preference. Only high-anxiety rats formed place preference to nicotine, while rats in the low-anxiety group formed no conditioned place preference. These results suggest that among adolescents, high-anxiety individuals are more likely to show preference for nicotine than low-anxiety individuals. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Dev Psychobiol
    Developmental Psychobiology 04/2014; · 2.60 Impact Factor
  • Source
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Adolescents with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) have higher rates of smoking than adolescents without ADHD. Since methylphenidate is the primary drug used to treat ADHD, it is likely that many adolescents are exposed to both methylphenidate and nicotine. Recent studies have established that adolescent nicotine induces long-term changes in several neurobehavioral variables. Limited data also suggest that adolescent methylphenidate may affect neural development. Nicotine tolerance is a well-established behavioral phenomenon in rodents, yet the underlying mechanism remains elusive. Recent theories suggest that changes in ventral striatal dopamine indices may relate to nicotine tolerance. As an initial determination of whether nicotine and methylphenidate have additive effects on neurobehavioral development, the present study investigated the combined effects of adolescent nicotine [2mg/kg/d] alone or in conjunction with methylphenidate [1.5mg/kg, 2X daily] following a one-month drug free period on adult behavioral tolerance to nicotine [0.5mg/kgs.c.] and its relation to dopamine receptor mRNA expression in the ventral striatum. Animals with chronic combined (nicotine+methylphenidate) adolescent exposure displayed stronger tolerance as adults to the nicotine-induced locomotor effects in comparison to animals with adolescent exposure to nicotine alone, methylphenidate alone, or controls. Combined chronic adolescent exposure significantly elevated adult D3nf mRNA expression levels in the nucleus accumbens, however a single nicotine injection in adults increased D3nf mRNA levels in naïve animals and decreased D3nf mRNA levels in those that had been previously exposed to combined stimulants during adolescence. Conversely, a single adult nicotine injection increased D1 mRNA levels in the adult nucleus accumbens, particularly in the shell, but only in rats previously exposed to nicotine or methylphenidate as adolescents. To our knowledge this is the first study that has shown long-term behavioral and neurochemical changes stemming from low chronic exposure of these two commonly co-consumed stimulants during adolescence.
    Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior 12/2012; · 2.61 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Nicotine has both rewarding and aversive properties in rodents, as shown by intravenous self-administration, intracranial self-stimulation, and conditioned place preference experiments. However, high throughput models of nicotine reward have not been developed in mice. In previous two-bottle studies, mice often chose to drink less from the nicotine bottle than from the water bottle, which raises the question whether these paradigms provide a model of the reinforcing properties of oral nicotine. We hypothesized that previous two-bottle choice paradigms included factors (such as the brief duration of trials, the addition of flavorings to both bottles, water bottles located relatively close to each other, etc.) that may have obstructed the formation of a learned association between the taste of nicotine and its delayed pharmacological effects. Here we show that a paradigm designed to simplify the acquisition of a learned association resulted in nicotine consumption by various strains and sexes that diverged progressively over a period of seven weeks. The strain and sex with the highest nicotine consumption (C57BL/6J females) showed steady and statistically significant increases in nicotine consumption throughout this period. C57BL/6J females were clearly responding to the reinforcing properties of nicotine because they chose to drink over 70% of their fluids from the nicotine bottle. Moreover, they became nicotine dependent, as shown by highly significant nicotine withdrawal symptoms after the nicotine bottle was removed. The strain and sex with the lowest consumption (A/J males) showed a significant decrease in nicotine consumption, and by the end of the experiment were drinking only 24% of their fluids from the nicotine bottle.
    Neuropharmacology 05/2012; 63(4):582-92. · 4.11 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The insular cortex has emerged as a novel target for nicotine addiction research. One unresolved question about the insular cortex is whether its neurons exhibit nicotine-induced dendritic remodeling similar to other brain regions implicated in nicotine addiction. To test this question, Long-Evans rats were administered nicotine via osmotic pump for two weeks. Thirty-seven days following the end of nicotine dosing, rats were sacrificed for Golgi-Cox staining and pyramidal neurons from the rostral agranular insular cortex were digitally reconstructed in three dimensions. Results from morphometric analyses revealed an increased complexity of dendrites in the insular cortex following nicotine. Increases were found for both total dendrite length and number of bifurcations. Sholl analyses revealed these changes depended on the distance from the soma, with the most prominent changes distributed at distal points along the dendritic tree. A follow-up comparison of length and bifurcation measurements from Sholl analyses suggested that new dendritic branches, rather than growth of existing dendrites, most likely contributed to overall changes in complexity. No change in dendrite morphology was found for apical dendrites. Together, these results show the insular cortex is a target for neuroplasticity following nicotine exposure.
    Neuroscience Letters 04/2012; 516(1):89-93. · 2.03 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Studies indicate that adolescence is a time of increased sensitivity to the rewarding effects of nicotine, and that stress is associated with an increased risk for smoking initiation in this age group. It is possible that stress leads to increased nicotine use in adolescence by augmenting its rewarding properties. Corticotropin-releasing factor type 1 receptors (CRF-R1) mediate physiological and behavioral stress responses. They may also mediate stress-induced potentiation of activity in multiple neural substrates implicated in nicotine reward. The aim of the present study was to determine the effect of acute stressor exposure on single trial nicotine conditioned place preference (CPP) in adolescent male rats using a biased CPP procedure and the role of CRF-R1 in this effect. A single episode of intermittent footshock administered 24 h before the start of place conditioning dose-dependently facilitated acquisition of CPP to nicotine (0.2, 0.4, and 0.6 mg/kg). Pretreatment with CP-154,526 (20 mg/kg), a selective CRF-R1 antagonist, 30 min before footshock exposure significantly attenuated the effect of prior stress to facilitate nicotine CPP acquisition. CP-154,526 pretreatment had no effect in animals conditioned with a nicotine dose that produced CPP under non-stress conditions, suggesting a specific role for CRF-R1 following stress. Taken together, the results suggest that during adolescence, nicotine reward is enhanced by recent stressor exposure in a manner that involves signaling at CRF-R1. Information from studies such as this may be used to inform efforts to prevent and treat adolescent nicotine dependence.
    Psychopharmacology 07/2011; 219(1):73-82. · 4.06 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This study investigated the dendritic morphology of neurons located in the right and left basolateral amygdala (BLA) and infralimbic (IL) cortex following chronic nicotine exposure during adolescence or adulthood. Sprague-Dawley rats were administered subcutaneous injections of nicotine (0.5 mg/kg; free base) or saline three times per week for 2 weeks (six total injections). The dose period began on either postnatal day (P) 32 (adolescent) or P61 (adult). Twenty days following the end of dosing, brains were processed for Golgi-Cox staining, and dendrites from principal neurons in the BLA and pyramidal neurons in the IL were digitally reconstructed in three dimensions. Morphometric analysis revealed a contrasting pattern of BLA dendritic morphology between the adolescent and adult pretreatment groups. In the adult control group, basilar dendritic length did not differ with respect to hemisphere. Nicotine induced robust hemispheric asymmetry by increasing dendritic length in the right hemisphere only. In contrast, adolescent nicotine exposure did not produce significant alteration of basilar dendritic morphology. There was, however, an indication that nicotine eliminated a naturally existing hemispheric asymmetry in the younger cohort. At both ages, nicotine produced a reduction in complexity of the apical tree of principal neurons. Chronic nicotine did not affect the dendritic morphology of pyramidal neurons from the IL in either age group, indicating another dimension of anatomical specificity. Collectively, these data implicate the BLA as a target for lasting neuroplasticity associated with chronic nicotine exposure. Further, hemispheric differences in dendritic morphology were uncovered that depended on the age of nicotine exposure, a finding that underscores the importance of considering laterality when investigating neurodevelopmental effects of drug exposure.
    Synapse 03/2010; 64(10):754-64. · 2.31 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Animal models of prenatal nicotine exposure clearly indicate that nicotine is a neuroteratogen. Some of the persisting effects of prenatal nicotine exposure include low birth weight, behavioral changes and deficits in cognitive function, although few studies have looked for neurobehavioral and neurochemical effects that might persist throughout the lifespan. Pregnant rats were given continuous infusions of nicotine (0.96mg/kg/day or 2.0mg/kg/day, freebase) continuing through the third trimester equivalent, a period of rapid brain development. Because the third trimester equivalent occurs postnatally in the rat (roughly the first week of life) nicotine administration to neonate pups continued via maternal milk until postnatal day (P) 10. Exposure to nicotine during pre- and early postnatal development had an anxiogenic effect on adult rats (P75) in the elevated plus maze (EPM), and blocked extinction learning in a fear conditioning paradigm, suggesting that pre- and postnatal nicotine exposure affect anxiety-like behavior and cognitive function well into adulthood. In contrast, nicotine exposure had no effect on anxiety-like behaviors in the EPM in adolescent animals (P30). Analysis of mRNA for the alpha4, alpha7, and beta2 subunits of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors revealed lower expression of these subunits in the adult hippocampus and medial prefrontal cortex following pre- and postnatal nicotine exposure, suggesting that nicotine altered the developmental trajectory of the brain. These long-term behavioral and neurochemical changes strengthen the case for discouraging cigarette smoking during pregnancy and clearly indicate that the use of the patch as a smoking cessation aid during pregnancy is not a safe alternative.
    Neurotoxicology and Teratology 01/2010; 32(3):336-45. · 3.18 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Conditioned place preference (CPP) is often more effectively produced with nicotine using a biased procedure. Interpretation of results can be problematic, however, given that doses that produce CPP in rats have acute anxiolytic and residual anxiogenic effects. We tested three groups of male rats in a biased, 2-chambered apparatus. Over eight conditioning days, one group (paired group) received four alternating injections of nicotine paired with the non-preferred (white) chamber and of saline in the preferred (black) chamber. A second group (counterbalanced group) received two nicotine injections each paired with the black and white chambers, with saline pairings on alternate days. A third group (saline control) received saline injections paired with both chambers. Following conditioning, the paired group spent significantly more time in the initially non-preferred chamber relative to saline-treated controls, suggesting CPP. The counterbalanced group did not show a significant preference shift, providing evidence that the observed preference shift in the paired group was not due to a drug-induced unconditioned reduction in aversion. Although this finding is consistent with the notion that nicotine produced CPP through its rewarding effects, we cannot discount the possibility of a conditioned reduction in aversion to the non-preferred chamber. For the paired group, a negative correlation was found between time spent in the white chamber before conditioning and preference shift following conditioning, suggesting that animals showing greater initial aversion to a non-preferred context are more likely to form CPP.
    Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior 04/2008; 89(1):94-100. · 2.61 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Emerging evidence indicates that adolescence represents a developmental window of enhanced nicotine-induced neuroplasticity in rat forebrain. However, whether nicotine produces age-dependent structural alteration of neurons from medial prefrontal cortex remains to be determined. We characterized the dendritic morphology of layer V pyramidal neurons from prelimbic cortex following adolescent (P29-43) or adult (P80-94) nicotine pretreatment. Nicotine administration was via osmotic pump [initial dose 2.0 mg/(kg day), free base]. Five weeks after drug administration concluded, brains were processed for Golgi-Cox staining and pyramidal neurons digitally reconstructed for morphometric analysis. Overall, nicotine pretreatment produced increased basilar, but not apical, dendritic length of pyramidal cells, a finding consistent with previous work using adult animals. Given the compelling evidence for morphologically distinct functional subtypes of cortical pyramidal neurons, we endeavored to determine whether nicotine-induced dendritic alteration was specific to putative structural subtypes. Neurons were segregated into two groups based on the extent of dendritic arbor at the distal portion of the apical tree (i.e., the apical tuft). The size of the apical tuft was quantitatively determined using principal component analysis. Cells with small and elaborate apical tufts were classified as simple and complex, respectively. We found that adult nicotine pretreatment produced increased basilar dendritic length and branch number in simple but not complex pyramidal cells. In contrast, adolescent nicotine pretreatment produced a modest but significant increase in basilar dendritic length in complex but not simple cells. These data suggest that nicotine alters dendritic morphology of specific subpopulations of pyramidal neurons and that the subpopulation affected is dependent on the age of drug exposure.
    Synapse 02/2008; 62(1):31-9. · 2.31 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Sixty male and female Long-Evans hooded rats were administered 1, 2, or 5mg/kg methylphenidate (MPH) suspended in apple juice on postnatal day (P)15 or P40 using a novel, non-invasive oral administration technique. Plasma was collected 15 min after ingestion and analyzed by high performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS) to confirm appropriate concentrations. HPLC-MS plasma analysis showed levels comparable to previous gavage studies using MPH. We have used this method successfully in subsequent behavioral studies as well. Since therapeutic MPH in humans is typically administered orally, oral dosing methods that have been verified in the rodent model are of value. We recommend employment of this alternative oral dosing technique as it is minimally invasive, can be used anytime during postnatal development, and does not depend upon voluntary consumption.
    Journal of Neuroscience Methods 02/2007; 159(2):282-5. · 2.11 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Previous data in humans and animal models has suggested connections between anxiety, depression, smoking behavior, and nicotine dependence. The importance of these connections has been confirmed by clinical studies that led to the recent FDA approval of an anti-depressant (Zyban) for use in human smoking cessation programs. Other anti-depressants (such as rolipram) specifically inhibit PDE4 phosphodiesterases. We used DNA microarrays to discover gene expression changes in adolescent female rats following chronic nicotine treatments, and real-time PCR assays to confirm and extend those results. We found a consistent decrease in the mRNA levels encoded by the Pde4b gene in nucleus accumbens, prefrontal cortex, and hippocampus of adolescent female rats treated with .24 mg/day nicotine, and in prefrontal cortex of adolescent female rats treated with .12 mg/day nicotine. We further show that each of these brain areas produced a different profile of Pde4b isoforms. Chronic nicotine treatments produce a dose-dependent down-regulation of Pde4b, which may have an antidepressant effect. This is the first report of a link between nicotine dependence and phosphodiesterase gene expression. Our results also add to the complex interrelationships between smoking and schizophrenia, because mutations in the PDE4B gene are associated with schizophrenia.
    Biological Psychiatry 02/2007; 61(1):56-64. · 9.25 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We examined the acute rewarding as well as the long-term psychomotor altering effects of nicotine in early adolescent and adult male Sprague-Dawley rats. Place conditioning was used to examine nicotine-induced reward after a single drug pairing. A single pairing of nicotine with the initially non-preferred side of the place conditioning apparatus produced a conditioned place preference (CPP) in early adolescent but not adult animals. One month later, animals were given a nicotine challenge and locomotor activity observed in the open field to characterize age differences in the lasting alterations resulting from this single injection. Adult rats showed tolerance to the locomotor depressant effects of a low dose of nicotine whereas adolescent rats showed tolerance to a higher dose. Regardless of treatment group, animals tested during adolescence responded to the nicotine challenge with less hypoactivity when compared with animals tested as adults. The present results are in agreement with previous studies showing that early adolescent rats are more sensitive to nicotine's rewarding effects and are in accord with studies showing a unique profile of neurobehavioral alterations following nicotine exposure when compared with adults. Such findings are extended here by showing that these differences are seen following only a single pretreatment dose and persist for at least one month after pretreatment.
    Neurotoxicology and Teratology 01/2007; 29(1):74-80. · 3.18 Impact Factor
  • Amy K Eppolito, Robert F Smith
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Research has shown that cigarette use during pregnancy can result in increased fetal mortality, sudden infant death syndrome, and behavioral and attentional disorders during childhood. Neurochemical and behavioral consequences of prenatal nicotine exposure have been well documented although few studies have examined long-term behavioral consequences that persist into adulthood. In this study, fifty-eight male and female Long-Evans rats were exposed to chronic nicotine prenatally and postnatally via subcutaneous infusions (0.96 mg/kg/day) in the dam. Nicotine exposure continued in the pups via maternal milk until the dams' osmotic mini-pumps became exhausted at approximately postnatal day (P) 11. At weaning, animals were group housed until behavioral testing at P60 to assess spatial learning and memory in the Morris water maze (MWM). Mild deficits in spatial learning were observed in nicotine-exposed females. These behavioral differences were accompanied by significant reduction in weight gain of nicotine-exposed females beginning at puberty, suggesting a hormonal interaction. Long-term effects of nicotine exposure were less striking in males. Nicotine-exposed males had significantly slower swim speeds than controls, but latency to reach the hidden platform was equal between groups by the conclusion of testing. Weight gain in males did not differ between groups as a result of prenatal nicotine exposure.
    Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior 01/2007; 85(4):835-41. · 2.61 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Humans often start smoking during adolescence. Recent results suggest that rodents may also be particularly vulnerable to nicotine dependence during adolescence. We examined the effect of chronic nicotine exposure on gene expression profiles during adolescence in female rats, who were dosed with nicotine (and control animals were dosed with saline) via subcutaneously implanted osmotic minipumps. Brain samples were collected at four ages: before puberty (postnatal day 25), at about the time of puberty in females (postnatal day 35), and after puberty (postnatal days 45 and 55). The expression of 7931 genes in three brain areas was measured using DNA microarrays. Quantitative RT-PCR was also employed to confirm the expression patterns of selected genes. We used a novel clustering technique (principal cluster analysis) to classify 162 nicotine-regulated genes into five clusters, of which only one (cluster A) showed similar patterns of gene expression across all three brain areas (ventral striatum, prefrontal cortex, and hippocampus). Three clusters of genes (A, B, and C) showed dramatic peaks in their nicotine responses at the same age (p35). The other two clusters (D1 and D2) showed smaller peaks and/or valleys in their nicotine responses at p35 and p45. Thus, the age of maximal gene expression response to nicotine in female rats corresponds approximately to the age of maximal behavioral response and the age of puberty.
    Neurotoxicology and Teratology 01/2007; 29(1):126-40. · 3.18 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Adolescent nicotine exposure is associated with long-term use, and it has been suggested that this vulnerability to addiction may relate to lasting anxiogenic effects of the drug. However, few studies have addressed long-term effects of adolescent nicotine, and fewer yet have compared adolescent to adult exposure. Male and female Long-Evans rats continuously received nicotine bitartrate or sodium tartrate via osmotic mini-pumps over 15 days either during adolescence (p28-42) or adulthood (p85-99). Initial nicotine dose (free base) was either low (1 mg/kg/day) or high (2 mg/kg/day). Open field behavior and fear conditioning were assessed in adulthood, 1 month post-dosing. Animals pretreated with nicotine during adolescence showed less center time in a novel open field than sham controls. Conversely, the two nicotine doses differentially affected fear conditioning. Animals pretreated with low nicotine during adolescence demonstrated superior acquisition of the task compared to sham control animals; however, unlike either high nicotine-pretreated or sham control animals, they failed to extinguish the learned behavior. In contrast, animals pretreated during adulthood did not behave significantly different from sham controls on either task. Overall, nicotine-pretreatment during adolescence induced effects on behaviors related to fear and anxiety in adulthood, while comparable pretreatment during adulthood failed to produce significant residual effects.
    Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior 10/2006; 85(1):91-7. · 2.61 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Few studies have examined long-term effects of ethanol on auditory fear conditioning, and fewer still have examined whether adolescence represents a unique period of vulnerability. We investigated the impact of ethanol consumption during adolescence and adulthood on fear conditioning, following an extended abstinence period. Male and female Long-Evans rats (N = 80) consumed 10% ethanol or water (control) in a limited-access drinking paradigm (1 h) between postnatal (P) days 28-45 (adolescent) and P80-97 (adult). After the abstinence period (30 days), ethanol and control groups were assessed on the auditory fear-conditioning task. Alcohol consumption impaired tone conditioning in the male and female adolescent group. There were no persisting effects of adult dosing. In addition, adolescent rats consumed more ethanol than adults. These data provide evidence that ethanol consumption during adolescence produces enduring effects on auditory fear conditioning. The age-specific effect of ethanol may be attributable to an interplay of higher ethanol intake and the unique neurobiological characteristics of adolescents.
    Physiology & Behavior 08/2006; 88(4-5):466-72. · 3.16 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The objective of the current study was to examine how periadolescent nicotine exposure affects dendritic morphology of medium spiny neurons from the nucleus accumbens shell. Male Long-Evans hooded rats were chronically administered nicotine or saline for a period extending from postnatal day 22 (p22) to p69. Nicotine and saline administration was via subcutaneously implanted osmotic pumps. At p144, 75 days after conclusion of nicotine administration, brains were processed for Golgi-Cox staining. Medium spiny neurons from the nucleus accumbens shell were digitally reconstructed. It was found that neurons from nicotine-treated animals possessed significantly longer dendrites and a greater number of dendritic segments than control animals. A branch order analysis indicated that differences in dendritic length and segment number were most pronounced in third and fourth order segments. A subsequent behavioral experiment suggests that the observed anatomical changes are associated with enduring psychomotor differences. These findings indicate that periadolescent exposure to nicotine can result in long-lasting structural changes in the nucleus accumbens shell and are consistent with behavioral data suggesting that adolescent nicotine exposure may result in vulnerability to nicotine addiction in adulthood.
    Neuroscience Letters 10/2005; 385(2):163-7. · 2.03 Impact Factor
  • Robert F Smith
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Use of addictive substances by human juveniles and adolescents is common, including use to intoxication and progression from one drug to other drugs. Until quite recently, animal studies have not addressed the periadolescent period as a time of special vulnerability to substance abuse. For ethanol (EtOH), the most studied drug in periadolescent animals, it has become clear that effects of alcohol are similar in some ways, but different in others, compared to the effects seen in adult animals. Sparse data suggest that this conclusion may apply to other drugs as well. Recent work in rats indicates that periadolescent substance use may disrupt normal pubertal development, and may induce stronger effects on systems subserving plasticity and cognition than in adults. Animal data also indicate that some drugs may produce altered subsequent sensitivity to the same or a different drug, changes in adult cognitive capabilities, and even CNS damage. It is now clear that there can be no presumption that all studies of abusable substances carried out in adult animals will generalize readily to periadolescents. Some data suggest that continuing developmental changes in receptor expression may underlie age-related changes in drug effects. However, the biological characteristics of periadolescence which predispose toward consumption to intoxication, and the mechanisms underlying drug progression and persisting drug effects, still remain to be well defined.
    Neurotoxicology and Teratology 01/2003; 25(3):291-301. · 3.18 Impact Factor