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J Neurosci. 2003 Jun 1;23(11):4712-6.

Evidence for enhanced neurobehavioral vulnerability to nicotine during periadolescence in rats.

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1
Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale U588, Université V. Segalen, Bordeaux 2, Domaine de Carreire, 33077 Bordeaux, France.

Abstract

Epidemiological studies indicate that there is an increased likelihood for the development of nicotine addiction when cigarette smoking starts early during adolescence. These observations suggest that adolescence could be a "critical" ontogenetic period, during which drugs of abuse have distinct effects responsible for the development of dependence later in life. We compared the long-term behavioral and molecular effects of repeated nicotine treatment during either periadolescence or postadolescence in rats. It was found that exposure to nicotine during periadolescence, but not a similar exposure in the postadolescent period, increased the intravenous self-administration of nicotine and the expression of distinct subunits of the ligand-gated acetylcholine receptor in adult animals. Both these changes indicated an increased sensitivity to the addictive properties of nicotine. In conclusion, adolescence seems to be a critical developmental period, characterized by enhanced neurobehavioral vulnerability to nicotine.

PMID:
12805310
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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