Self-Administered Nicotine Suppresses Body Weight Gain Independent of Food Intake in Male Rats

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid



The action of nicotine to suppress body weight is often cited as a factor impacting smoking initiation and the failure to quit. Despite the weight-suppressant effects of nicotine, smokers and nonsmokers report equal daily caloric intake. The weight-suppressive effects of nicotine in animal models of smoking are poorly understood. Furthermore, the Food and Drug Administration has authority to implement a policy markedly reducing nicotine levels in cigarettes; such a reduction could reduce smoking behavior, but have detrimental effects on body weight. The aim of this investigation was to examine the effects of self-administered nicotine on body weight and food intake in rats.


In Experiment 1, rats with ad libitum access to chow responded for intravenous infusions of nicotine (60 µg/kg/infusion) or saline in daily 1-hour sessions; body weight and 24-hour food intake were measured. Experiment 2 tested the effects of subcutaneous injections of nicotine on food intake. In Experiment 3, rats were food restricted and self-administered nicotine across a range of doses (3.75–60 µg/kg/infusion) while body weight was measured. In Experiment 4, rats self-administered 60 µg/kg/infusion nicotine before reduction to one of several doses (1.875–15 µg/kg/infusion) for 50 days.


Self-administered nicotine suppressed weight gain independent of food intake. In food restricted rats, self-administered nicotine dose-dependently suppressed body weight gain. In rats self-administering 60 µg/kg/infusion nicotine, dose reduction increased body weight.


Self-administered nicotine, even at low doses, suppressed body independent of food intake; this may have important implications for nicotine reduction policy.


The results of the present studies demonstrate that self-administered nicotine suppresses body weight independent of food intake in rats. Further, the present studies establish that self-administered nicotine suppresses body weight even at very low doses and that reduction of nicotine dose results in weight gain. These results have important implications for nicotine reduction policy.

Related Topics

    loading  Loading Related Articles