Anxiety disorders and nicotine use are significant contributors to global morbidity and mortality as independent and comorbid diseases. Early-life stress, potentially via stress-induced hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) dysregulation, can exacerbate both. However, little is known about the factors that predispose individuals to the development of both anxiety disorders and nicotine use. Here, we examined the relationship between anxiety-like behaviors and nicotine responses following adolescent stress. Adolescent male and female BALB/cJ mice were exposed to either chronic variable social stress (CVSS) or control conditions. CVSS consisted of repeated cycles of social isolation and social reorganization. In adulthood, anxiety-like behavior and social avoidance were measured using the elevated plus-maze (EPM) and social approach-avoidance test, respectively. Nicotine responses were assessed with acute effects on body temperature, corticosterone production, locomotor activity, and voluntary oral nicotine consumption. Adolescent stress had sex-dependent effects on nicotine responses and exploratory behavior, but did not affect anxiety-like behavior or social avoidance in males or females. Adult CVSS males exhibited less exploratory behavior, as indicated by reduced exploratory locomotion in the EPM and social approach-avoidance test, compared to controls. Adolescent stress did not affect nicotine-induced hypothermia in either sex, but CVSS males exhibited augmented nicotine-induced locomotion during late adolescence and voluntarily consumed less nicotine during adulthood. Stress effects on male nicotine-induced locomotion were associated with individual differences in exploratory locomotion in the EPM and social approach-avoidance test. Relative to controls, adult CVSS males and females also exhibited reduced corticosterone levels at baseline and adult male CVSS mice exhibited increased corticosterone levels following an acute nicotine injection. Results suggest that the altered nicotine responses observed in CVSS males may be associated with HPA dysregulation. Taken together, adolescent social stress influences later-life nicotine responses and exploratory behavior. However, there is little evidence of an association between nicotine responses and prototypical anxiety-like behavior or social avoidance in BALB/cJ mice.
|Number of pages
|Brain Research Bulletin
|Published - Apr 2018
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- General Neuroscience