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Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2019 Aug 5:109731. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2019.109731. [Epub ahead of print]

Effects of chronic nicotine on the temporal structure of anxiety-related behavior in rats tested in hole-board.

Author information

1
Laboratory of Behavioral Physiology, Department of Biomedicine Neuroscience and Advanced Diagnostics, Human Physiology Section "Giuseppe Pagano", University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy. Electronic address: maurizio.casarrubea@unipa.it.
2
Laboratotry of Neurophysiology, Department of Physiology and Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, University of Malta, Msida, Malta.
3
Laboratory of Behavioral Physiology, Department of Biomedicine Neuroscience and Advanced Diagnostics, Human Physiology Section "Giuseppe Pagano", University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy.
4
Laboratotry of Neurophysiology, Department of Physiology and Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, University of Malta, Msida, Malta; School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff, United Kingdom. Electronic address: giuseppe.digiovanni@um.edu.mt.

Abstract

The present study aimed to assess the behavioral effects of chronic treatments of different doses of nicotine by using both quantitative and multivariate T-pattern analysis (TPA), which can reveal hidden behavioral structures, in Sprague-Dawley rats tested in the hole-board apparatus. To this purpose, nicotine ditartrate was administered at the doses of 0.1, 0.5 and 1 mg/kg i.p, three times per day, for 14 consecutive days. As to quantitative evaluations, we observed significant reductions in the mean durations and mean frequencies of walking, climbing, immobile-sniffing and rearing in comparison to control. A significant reduction of edge-sniff and head-dip mean frequencies was also detected for all the doses tested. TPA revealed an increase in the number and the mean length of different T-patterns induced by the three doses of nicotine. On the other hand, a significant reduction of the mean occurrences of T-patterns was revealed. Overall, our results obtained by using both quantitative and T-pattern analyses indicate that chronic nicotine induces an anxiety condition characterized by a behavioral re-organization orbiting around the two main components of hole exploration, that is, head-dip and edge-sniff. A better understanding of the link between nicotine and anxiety might help to find new therapies for smoking cessation.

KEYWORDS:

Anxiety; Chronic nicotine; Hole-board; Sprague-Dawley rats; T-pattern analysis

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