Nicotine-induced conditioned taste aversion in the rat: Effects of ethanol

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Abstract

It has been shown that small doses of ethanol antagonise the discriminative stimulus properties of nicotine in the rat. The aim of the present study was to evaluate whether ethanol could antagonise the aversive stimulus effects of nicotine. Wistar rats were trained to associate nicotine injections with a novel tasting fluid (0.1% saccharin) in the conditioned taste aversion procedure. Nicotine (0.3 mg/kg, s.c.) was injected 5 min after the end of a 20-min exposure to the saccharin solution. Ethanol (0.25–0.5 g/kg, i.p.) was administered 5 or 50 min before nicotine. In general, ethanol did not inhibit nicotine-induced conditioned taste aversion. Contrary to the findings in drug discrimination studies, a slight but significant enhancement of nicotine-induced taste aversion conditioning was observed after ethanol pre-treatment. Blood ethanol levels were measured in a separate group of rats. Maximal blood ethanol levels after i.p. administration of 0.25 or 0.5 g/kg ethanol exceeded 20 and 80 mg%, respectively. Concluding, the present results may indicate that ethanol does not attenuate nicotine-induced conditioned taste aversion in the rat.

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