Impact of adolescent nicotine exposure on adenylyl cyclase-mediated cell signaling: enzyme induction, neurotransmitter-specific effects, regional selectivities, and the role of withdrawal.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Recent animal studies indicate that the adolescent brain is especially vulnerable to nicotine-induced alterations in synaptic function, echoing the increased susceptibility to nicotine dependence and withdrawal noted for adolescent smokers. We administered nicotine to adolescent rats via continuous minipump infusions from PN30 to PN47.5, using 6 mg/kg/day, a dose rate that replicates the plasma nicotine levels found in smokers, and examined the effects on cell signaling mediated through adenylyl cyclase (AC) and its response to catecholamines. Studies were conducted during nicotine administration (PN45) and in the posttreatment, withdrawal period (PN50, 60, 75). Adolescent nicotine augmented AC activity as evidenced by increased responsiveness to the direct AC stimulants, forskolin and Mn(2+). The effects on AC were equally noted in brain regions enriched (striatum) or sparse (cerebellum) in cholinergic projections, implying that the effects are secondary to activation/repression of neural circuits, rather than representing direct effects on AC mediated by nicotinic cholinergic receptors. AC responses to dopaminergic and noradrenergic stimulants were also enhanced by nicotine exposure. However, in contrast to earlier work with serotonin-mediated responses, the effects on catecholaminergic stimulation were smaller and did not display the sex-dependence noted for serotonin. An alternate administration paradigm that maximizes episodic withdrawal (twice-daily nicotine injections) induced AC more rapidly at lower nicotine doses. Our results indicate that adolescent nicotine exposure elicits lasting alterations in synaptic signaling that intensify and persist during withdrawal. These findings support the concept that the adolescent brain is especially susceptible to persistent nicotine-induced alterations.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Abreu-Villaça, Y; Seidler, FJ; Slotkin, TA

Published Date

  • October 24, 2003

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 988 / 1-2

Start / End Page

  • 164 - 172

PubMed ID

  • 14519538

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0006-8993

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/s0006-8993(03)03368-7


  • eng

Conference Location

  • Netherlands