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Age- and Sex-Dependent Nicotine Pretreatment Effects on the Enhancement of Methamphetamine Self-administration in Sprague-Dawley Rats.

  • Cardenas, Anjelica
  • Lotfipour, Shahrdad
Publication Date
Jul 13, 2022
eScholarship - University of California
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IntroductionInitiation of tobacco products typically occurs in adolescence. Adolescence is a critical period in development where the maturation of brain neurocircuitry is vulnerable to nicotine. Nicotine-containing products and psychostimulants, such as methamphetamine (METH), are often coabused. Rodent studies have shown that nicotine exposure in early adolescence increases subsequent drug intake and reward. Given the exponential increase in e-cigarette use among adolescents, there is a pressing need to understand whether adolescent nicotine exposure impacts concurrent increased METH use. The objective of this study is to evaluate age, sex, and longitudinal effects of nicotine pretreatment on METH reinforcement.Aims and methodsMale and female Sprague-Dawley rats were pretreated with a subchronic, low-dose nicotine (2×, 30 µg/kg/0.1 mL, intravenous) or saline during early adolescence (postnatal days [PN] 28-31) or adulthood (PN 86-89). Following nicotine pretreatment, on PN 32 or PN 90, animals underwent operant intravenous self-administration for METH (20 µg/kg/inf) over a 2-hour period for five consecutive days.ResultsEarly adolescent nicotine exposure enhances intravenous METH self-administration in male, but not female adolescents. Male adult rats self-administer METH over the 5-day testing period, independent of nicotine exposure. In contrast, nicotine exposure increases METH self-administration in female adults during the later sessions of the 5-day testing period.ConclusionsTaken together, our data highlight age- and sex-dependent effects of low dose, subchronic nicotine pretreatment on subsequent intravenous METH self-administration.ImplicationsA majority of polysubstance users begin smoking before the age of 18. Mounting evidence highlights adolescent susceptibility to nicotine exposure on brain and behavior. With the escalation in nicotine-containing products and stimulant use among adolescents, it is important to identify the consequences from adolescent nicotine use, including polysubstance use. Our study provides evidence that adolescent nicotine exposure enhances subsequent METH use, with important sex- and age-dependent effects.

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