Nicotine as a discriminative stimulus for ethanol use

Brett C Ginsburg, Simon A. Levy, Richard J Lamb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Abused drugs reinforce behavior; i.e., they increase the probability of the behavior preceding their administration. Abused drugs can also act as discriminative stimuli; i.e., they can set the occasion for responding reinforced by another event. Thus, one abused drug could come to set the occasion for the use of another and this functional relationship may play a role in polysubstance abuse, where common patterns of use could result in this relationship. Here we establish nicotine (0.4 mg/kg, ip 5-min pre-session) as a discriminative stimulus for behavior reinforced by ethanol (0.1 ml 8% w/v po, versus food) and determine the ability of nicotine (0.02-0.4 mg/kg), varenicline (0.1-3.0 mg/kg), and ethanol (250 and 500 mg/kg) to control responding for ethanol. We compare these results to those from rats where nicotine signaled food was available (and ethanol was not). Nicotine came to function as a discriminative stimulus. Nicotine and varenicline produced dose-dependent increases in responding on the nicotine-appropriate lever while ethanol produced responding on the vehicle-appropriate lever. Whether this responding occurred on the lever that produced ethanol or food access depended on the training condition. These results demonstrate that a drug can come to set the occasion for use of another and suggest that this behavioral mechanism could play an important role in the maintenance of and recovery from polysubstance abuse, depending on the pattern of use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)98-102
Number of pages5
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
Volume182
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

Keywords

  • Alcohol
  • Cue
  • Drinking
  • Polysubstance use
  • Recovery
  • Relapse
  • Smoking
  • Tobacco

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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