Chronic Nicotine Increases Alcohol Self-Administration in Adult Male Wistar Rats
Rationale: Alcohol and nicotine co-dependence is common in humans, and nicotine increases alcohol drinking in humans without alcohol use disorder (AUD). Nevertheless, there is little basic research on the interactions between the reinforcing effects of these two drugs. Objectives: The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of chronic nicotine injections on oral alcohol self-administration in alcohol non-dependent rats. Methods: After stable alcohol self-administration was reached (baseline) and a period without alcohol access, adult male rats were treated with chronic nicotine or saline injections for 105 days during which time they were tested intermittently for alcohol self-administration. There were 3 experimental groups: (1) saline, rats treated with saline for 105 days; (2) early nicotine, rats treated with nicotine for 70 days, and then with saline for 35 days; and (3) late nicotine: rats treated with saline for 35 days, and then with nicotine for 70 days. Results: Our results indicate that (1) chronic nicotine increases alcohol consumption regardless of whether exposure to alcohol was interrupted (early nicotine) or not (late nicotine) before the start of nicotine treatment, (2) the number of alcohol reinforcements correlates to blood-alcohol levels, and (3) alcohol self-administration rapidly decreases when nicotine is no longer available (early nicotine). Conclusions: These discoveries may have clinical implications in social drinkers that use nicotine products, in that chronic nicotine can escalate alcohol drinking and cessation of nicotine exposure may decrease alcohol use.
Montanari, Christian; Secci, Maria E.; Driskell, Ashlyn; McDonald, Katherine O.; Schratz, Connor L.; and Gilpin, Nicholas W., "Chronic Nicotine Increases Alcohol Self-Administration in Adult Male Wistar Rats" (2020). School of Medicine Faculty Publications. 332.