The effect of sazetidine-A and other nicotinic ligands on nicotine controlled goal-tracking in female and male rats

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Abstract

Nicotine is the primary addictive component of tobacco products and its complex stimulus effects are readily discriminated by human and non-human animals. Previous research with rodents directly investigating the nature of the nicotine stimulus has been limited to males. The current study began to address this significant gap in the literature by training female and male rats to discriminate 0.4 mg/kg nicotine from saline in the discriminated goal-tracking task. In this task, access to sucrose was intermittently available on nicotine session. On interspersed saline session, sucrose was not available. Both sexes acquired the discrimination as evidenced by increased head entries into sucrose receptacle (goal-tracking) evoked by nicotine; the nicotine generalization curves were also similar between females and males. The pharmacological profile of the nicotine stimulus was assessed using substitution and targeted combination tests with the following ligands: sazetidine-A, PHA-543613, PNU-120596, bupropion, nornicotine, and cytisine. For females and males, nornicotine fully substituted for the nicotine stimulus, whereas sazetidine-A, bupropion, and cytisine all evoked partial substitution. Female and male rats responded in a similar manner to interaction tests where a combination of 1 mg/kg of sazetidine-A plus nicotine or nornicotine shifted the nicotine dose-effect curve to the left. The combination of sazetidine-A plus bupropion or cytisine failed to do so. These findings begin to fill a significant gap the in scientific literature by studying the nature of the nicotine stimulus and response to therapeutically interesting combinations using a model that includes both sexes.

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