Effects of Environmental Enrichment on d-Amphetamine Self-Administration Following Nicotine Exposure

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Adolescent nicotine exposure has been shown to lead to further psychostimulant use in adulthood. Previous preclinical research in rats has shown that environmental enrichment may protect against drug abuse vulnerability. The current study was designed to examine whether environmental enrichment can block the ability of adolescent nicotine exposure to increase d-amphetamine self-administration in adulthood. Male Sprague–Dawley rats were raised in either enriched conditions (ECs) or isolated conditions (ICs) and then injected with saline or nicotine (0.4 mg/kg, sc) for 7 days during adolescence. In adulthood rats were allowed to self-administer d-amphetamine under a fixed ratio (FR; 0, 0.006, 0.01, 0.02, 0.06, and 0.1 mg/kg/infusion) and progressive ratio (PR; 0, 0.006, 0.06, and 0.1 mg/kg/infusion) schedule of reinforcement. Nicotine-treated IC rats self-administered more d-amphetamine at 0.006, 0.01, and 0.02 mg/kg/infusion doses compared with their saline-treated IC counterparts regardless of the schedule maintaining behavior. This effect of nicotine was reversed in EC rats on a fixed ratio schedule. These findings indicate that environmental enrichment can limit the ability of adolescent nicotine exposure to increase vulnerability to other psychostimulant drugs, such as d-amphetamine.

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