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Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2006 Aug;30(8):1408-13.

Nicotine decreases blood alcohol concentrations in adult rats: a phenomenon potentially related to gastric function.

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Neuroscience and Experimental Therapeutics, College of Medicine, The Texas A&M Health Science Center, College Station, Texas 77843-1114, USA.



In spite of the fact that drinking and smoking often occur together, little is known about the pharmacokinetic interaction between alcohol and nicotine. Previous research in neonatal rats demonstrated that nicotine reduces blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) if alcohol and nicotine are administered simultaneously. However, it is unclear whether such a phenomenon can be observed in adult subjects, given the fact that there is an ontogenetic difference in alcohol metabolism.


A range of nicotine doses (0, 0.25, 0.5, 1, 2, 4, and 6 mg/kg) were administered individually with an alcohol dose (4 g/kg) via intragastric (IG) intubation to adult female rats, and the resultant BACs were measured at various time points following drug administration. Furthermore, the hypothesis that nicotine's role in reducing BACs is mediated through factors related to gastric function was examined by comparing the resultant BACs after an IG intubation or intraperitoneal (IP) injection of alcohol.


The results from this study showed significant nicotine dose-related decreases in BACs with 0.5, 1, 2, 4, and 6 mg/kg doses of nicotine at the various time points assessed. This effect, however, occurred only when alcohol was administered via IG intubation, but not after an IP injection of alcohol.


These results suggest that the nicotine-induced decrease in BAC may be related to gastric function. One possible explanation was related to nicotine's action in delaying gastric emptying. The longer the alcohol was retained in the stomach, the more likely that the alcohol would be metabolized by gastric alcohol dehydrogenase before its absorption into the bloodstream by the small intestine (the major site of alcohol absorption).

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