Chronic infusions of mecamylamine into the medial habenula: Effects on nicotine self-administration in rats.
The habenula is an epithalamic structure through which descending connections go from the telencephalon to the brainstem, putting it in a key location to provide feedback control over the ascending projections from the brainstem to the telencephalon. The medial habenula has a high concentration of nicotinic receptors. We assessed the role of medial habenular nicotinic receptors for nicotine self-administration (SA) in female young adult Sprague-Dawley rats. The rats had bilateral chronic infusion cannulae placed into the medial habenula nucleus. Each cannula was connected to a slow delivery osmotic minipump to chronically infuse mecamylamine (100 µg/side/day) or vehicle for four consecutive weeks. The rats were tested for nicotine SA for the first two weeks of mecamylamine infusion. Then, they had one week of enforced abstinence, during which they had no access to the nicotine SA. Finally, they had one week of resumed nicotine SA access. There was a significantly differential mecamylamine effects in animals with lower and higher pretreatment baseline nicotine SA. Rats with lower baseline nicotine SA levels showed a nearly significant mecamylamine-induced reduction in SA while those with higher baseline levels of SA showed a significant mecamylamine-induced increase in nicotine SA. This study determined that medial habenular nicotinic receptors are important for nicotine reinforcement. Baseline level of performance makes a crucial difference for the involvement of habenular mechanisms in nicotine reinforcement with nicotinic activation being important for maintaining nicotine self-administration for those with lower levels of baseline self-administration and the opposite effect with subjects with higher levels of baseline self-administration.
Levin, ED; Wells, C; Slade, S; Johnson, J; Petro, A; Rezvani, AH; Rose, JE
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