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Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2011 Jul;99(1):7-16. doi: 10.1016/j.pbb.2011.03.009. Epub 2011 Mar 21.

Exposure to nicotine during periadolescence or early adulthood alters aversive and physiological effects induced by ethanol.

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  • 1Psychopharmacology Laboratory, Department of Psychology, American University, Washington, DC, USA. jennifer.rinker@gmail.com

Abstract

The majority of smokers begin their habit during adolescence, which often precedes experimentation with alcohol. Interestingly, very little preclinical work has been done examining how exposure to nicotine during periadolescence impacts the affective properties of alcohol in adulthood. Understanding how periadolescent nicotine exposure influences the aversive effects of alcohol might help to explain why it becomes more acceptable to this preexposed population. Thus, Experiment 1 exposed male Sprague Dawley rats to either saline or nicotine (0.4mg/kg, IP) from postnatal days 34 to 43 (periadolescence) and then examined changes in the aversive effects of alcohol (0, 0.56, 1.0 and 1.8g/kg, IP) in adulthood using the conditioned taste aversion (CTA) design. Changes in blood alcohol concentration (BAC) as well as alcohol-induced hypothermia and locomotor suppression were also assessed. To determine if changes seen were specific to nicotine exposure during periadolescence, the procedures were replicated in adults (Experiment 2). Preexposure to nicotine during periadolescence attenuated the acquisition of the alcohol-induced CTAs (at 1.0g/kg) and the hypothermic effects of alcohol (1.0g/kg). Adult nicotine preexposure produced similar attenuation in alcohol's aversive (at 1.8g/kg) and hypothermic (1.8g/kg) effects. Neither adolescent nor adult nicotine preexposure altered BACs or alcohol-induced locomotor suppression. These results suggest that nicotine may alter the aversive and physiological effects of alcohol, regardless of the age at which exposure occurs, possibly increasing its overall reinforcing value and making it more likely to be consumed.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

PMID:
21420998
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3250514
Free PMC Article

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