Rats quit nicotine for a sweet reward following an extensive history of nicotine use.

Carmen Huynh, Justine Fam, Serge H. Ahmed, Kelly J. Clemens
Addiction Biology. 2015-09-16; 22(1): 142-151
DOI: 10.1111/adb.12306

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1. Addict Biol. 2017 Jan;22(1):142-151. doi: 10.1111/adb.12306. Epub 2015 Sep 16.

Rats quit nicotine for a sweet reward following an extensive history of nicotine
use.

Huynh C(1), Fam J(1), Ahmed SH(2)(3), Clemens KJ(1).

Author information:
(1)School of Psychology, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.
(2)Université de Bordeaux, Institut des Maladies Neurodégénératives, UMR CNRS
5293, Bordeaux, France.
(3)Institut des Maladies Neurodégénératives, UMR CNRS 5293, Bordeaux, France.

Drug use may be exacerbated in environments which lack alternative means of
engaging in rewarding behaviour. When alternative rewards are available, drug use
may decrease-an effect that can be harnessed for therapeutic benefit. This idea
is particularly well-supported by recent preclinical evidence demonstrating that
a majority of rats will readily choose a potent non-drug reward over cocaine or
heroin. Here we examine whether the same holds true for nicotine, a drug
considered to have one of the highest addiction liabilities amongst drugs of
abuse. Rats were trained to nose-poke separately for saccharin or nicotine on
alternate days. Using a discrete-trial, forced-choice procedure, rats were then
allowed to choose between nicotine and saccharin. This was followed by choice
testing after a decrease in saccharin concentration (0.2-0%), omission of the
fluid reward, an increase in nicotine concentration and following an extended
nicotine self-administration history. All rats demonstrated a clear and immediate
preference for saccharin at all times. This was despite variations in reward
concentrations, or after an extensive nicotine history. Notably, rats preferred
to nose-poke for water over nicotine and would omit responses when no fluid was
delivered, rather than resume responding for nicotine. Overall, this study
confirms and extends to nicotine previous research on other drugs of abuse,
including cocaine and heroin. The ease with which rats quit nicotine in the
present study contrasts with the well-known difficulty of humans to quit tobacco
smoking. Possible factors that could explain this apparent discrepancy are
discussed.

© 2015 Society for the Study of Addiction.

DOI: 10.1111/adb.12306
PMID: 26374708 [Indexed for MEDLINE]


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