Mecamylamine acutely increases human intravenous nicotine self-administration.
Previous studies of human cigarette smoking have shown that administration of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor antagonist mecamylamine produces acute increases in smoking behavior. In contrast, studies of intravenous nicotine self-administration in animals typically show an immediate decrease in self-administration behavior following mecamylamine administration. To investigate whether this discrepancy might be due in part to the mode of nicotine self-administration (intravenous vs. cigarette smoke), we measured the rate of intravenous nicotine self-administration in tobacco-dependent human smokers. After being trained in a preliminary session to self-administer puff-sized bolus doses of nicotine, 16 subjects were exposed to two sessions (4 h duration) in which they could self-administer intravenous nicotine ad lib. Two hours prior to one session, subjects swallowed a capsule containing 10 mg mecamylamine, and before the other session they took a placebo capsule. Rates of responding for nicotine were assessed, as were subjective reports of withdrawal symptoms and plasma nicotine levels. There was a significantly higher rate of nicotine self-administration in the mecamylamine condition, and mecamylamine attenuated the reduction in craving over the session that occurred during nicotine self-administration. These results indicate that route of administration is not likely the major source of the discrepancy between findings from animal and human studies of nicotine administration. Instead, it is likely that the higher rates of nicotine self-administration induced by mecamylamine were due to an attenuation of the effects of nicotine (e.g., alleviation of withdrawal symptoms) in nicotine-dependent subjects. Thus, animal models of nicotine dependence may need to be employed in conjunction with self-administration procedures in order to duplicate the effects of mecamylamine observed in studies of human smokers.
Rose, JE; Behm, FM; Westman, EC; Bates, JE
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