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Exp Clin Psychopharmacol. 2014 Feb;22(1):9-22. doi: 10.1037/a0035749.

Nicotine-like behavioral effects of the minor tobacco alkaloids nornicotine, anabasine, and anatabine in male rodents.

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  • 1Alcohol & Drug Abuse Research Center.
  • 2Rock Creek Pharmaceuticals.

Abstract

Tobacco use is associated with lethal diseases in an estimated 440,000 persons in the United States each year (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2005). Successful smoking quit-rates are estimated at 5%-8%, even though a quarter of those attempts included use of smoking-cessation aids (Messer et al., 2008; Henningfield et al., 2009). Current projections are that 16% of the U.S. population-35 million people-will still smoke in 2025, thus more effective smoking-cessation aids are urgently needed (Pollock et al., 2009). The minor tobacco alkaloids may be promising candidates, but further research is necessary (Hoffman & Evans, 2013). Accordingly, we systematically evaluated the minor tobacco alkaloids nornicotine, anabasine, and anatabine using assays of behavioral tolerability, nicotine withdrawal, nicotine discrimination, and nicotine self-administration in male rodents. At doses that were well tolerated, all 3 minor alkaloids dose-dependently engendered robust substitution for a nicotine discriminative stimulus in mice (0.32 mg/kg, IP), and anabasine attenuated nicotine withdrawal. When the ED50 dose of each alkaloid was administered in combination with nicotine, the discriminative stimulus effects of nicotine were not enhanced by any of the alkaloids, and anatabine blunted nicotine's effects. In drug self-administration studies, only nornicotine was self-administered by rats that self-administered nicotine intravenously; anabasine and anatabine had no reinforcing effects. Moreover, prior administration of each of the minor tobacco alkaloids dose-dependently decreased nicotine self-administration. Collectively these results suggest that the minor tobacco alkaloids may substitute for the subjective effects of nicotine and attenuate withdrawal and craving without the abuse liability of nicotine.

PMID:
24490708
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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