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Genes Brain Behav. 2005 Oct;4(7):401-11.

Genetic basis for the psychostimulant effects of nicotine: a quantitative trait locus analysis in AcB/BcA recombinant congenic mice.

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1
Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre and Psychiatry Department, McGill University, 1604 Pine Avenue West, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3G 1B4. kathryn.gill@mcgill.ca

Abstract

Genetic differences in sensitivity to nicotine have been reported in both animals and humans. The present study utilized a novel methodology to map genes involved in regulating both the psychostimulant and depressant effects of nicotine in the AcB/BcA recombinant congenic strains (RCS) of mice. Locomotor activity was measured in a computerized open-field apparatus following subcutaneous administration of saline (days 1 and 2) or nicotine on day 3. The phenotypic measures obtained from this experimental design included total basal locomotor activity, as well as total nicotine activity, nicotine difference scores, nicotine percent change and nicotine regression residual scores. The results indicated that the C57BL/6J (B6) were insensitive to nicotine over the entire dose-response curve (0.1, 0.2, 0.4 and 0.8 mg/kg). However, the 0.8-mg/kg dose of nicotine produced a significant decrease in the locomotor activity in the A/J strain and a wide and continuous range of both locomotor excitation and depression among the AcB/BcA RCS. Single-locus association analysis in the AcB RCS identified quantitative trait loci (QTL) for the psychostimulant effects of nicotine on chromosomes 11, 12, 13, 14 and 17 and one QTL for nicotine-induced depression on chromosome 11. In the BcA RCS, nicotine-induced locomotor activation was associated with seven putative regions on chromosomes 2, 7, 8, 13, 14, 16 and 17. There were no overlapping QTL and no genetic correlations between saline- and nicotine-related phenotypes in the AcB/BcA RCS. A number of putative candidate genes were in proximity to regions identified with nicotine sensitivity, including the alpha2 subunit of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor and the dopamine D3 receptor.

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