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Life Sci. 1987 Apr 27;40(17):1699-708.

Nicotine administration to rats: methodological considerations.


The effects of nicotine on normal physiological function are of increasing concern. Preliminary to studies on the effects of prenatal exposure to nicotine, we examined methods of administering nicotine to rats. Drinking water containing nicotine was not palatable to rats and was an unsatisfactory method in our hands, producing weight loss and large decreases in fluid intake. Administration of nicotine in a complete liquid diet produced better results but the data suggest that oral administration of nicotine may interfere with absorption of some nutrients. Osmotic mini-pumps were found to be the best mechanism of nicotine delivery of those tried. There were no significant effects on food or water intake nor on weight gain, particularly when using a short term anesthetic for pump implantation. Plasma nicotine and cotinine levels were directly correlated to dose of nicotine delivered. Plasma nicotine levels similar to levels reported in humans were obtained.

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