Individual differences in novelty-seeking behavior but not in anxiety response to a new environment can predict nicotine consumption in adolescent C57BL/6 mice.
Considering that adolescence is associated with an increased motivation to seek out new stimuli and with low anxiety levels in exploring novel environments, and that both behavioral traits may be associated with substance abuse, we investigated whether the behavioral response to a novel environment can predict subsequent oral nicotine self-administration in adolescent C57BL/6 mice. On postnatal day 30 (PN30), the novelty-seeking behavior and anxiety levels were assessed in a hole board activity box. The total number of head-dips (DIP) was used to classify animals either into the high novelty (HN; DIP above median) or low novelty (LN; DIP below median) groups. The percentage of center squares crossed (CEN) was used to classify animals either into the high anxiety (HA; CEN below median) or low anxiety (LA; CEN above median) groups. From PN31 to PN41, all animals were given a free choice between tap water or a nicotine solution (10 microg/ml). LN mice did not change nicotine intake throughout the free choice procedure, however, HN mice presented a marked increase in consumption. There were no differences in consumption between HA and LA mice. Our results indicated that mice that presented a more intense novelty-seeking behavior increased their preference for nicotine during the free choice experiment but that anxiety levels did not predict nicotine consumption. These results suggest that higher motivation to seek out new experiences is a significant contributor to drug use in adolescents and that anxiety is probably not a major factor that determines differential nicotine consumption during adolescence.
Abreu-Villaça, Y; Queiroz-Gomes, FDE; Dal Monte, AP; Filgueiras, CC; Manhães, AC
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