Send to

Choose Destination
Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2006 Aug;187(2):189-99. Epub 2006 Jun 3.

Genetic dissociation of two behaviors associated with nicotine addiction: beta-2 containing nicotinic receptors are involved in nicotine reinforcement but not in withdrawal syndrome.

Author information

Unité CNRS 2182 Récepteurs & Cognition, Département de Neuroscience, Institut Pasteur, 25 rue du Dr. Roux, 75015 Paris, France.



Nicotine addiction is characterized by two distinct behaviors, chronic compulsive self-administration and the induction of a withdrawal syndrome upon cessation of nicotine consumption.


To examine if these two processes rely on beta2-containing nicotinic receptors--beta2*nAChRs--we analyzed the behavior of mice lacking these receptors in the two situations.


First, we showed that, in contrast to wild-type (WT) mice, beta2-knockout (beta2-/-) mice exhibit no intra-ventral tegmental area (VTA) nicotine self-administration, whereas their ability to self-administer morphine is intact. However, beta2-/- mice showed some sensitivity to locomotor effects of nicotine, implying an effect of the drug on other nicotinic subtypes. Then, we observed that beta2-/- mice exhibited a normal nicotine withdrawal syndrome, i.e., increased levels of rearing and jumping upon precipitated withdrawal. Thus, the beta2*nAChRs are not involved in the behaviors induced by cessation of nicotine consumption.


Taken together, the present data demonstrated a genetic dissociation of two distinct behavioral patterns associated with nicotine addiction. They further suggested that independent molecular mechanisms underlie these two aspects, offering the possibility of controlling them separately.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer
Loading ...
Support Center