Bupropion dose-dependently reverses nicotine withdrawal deficits in contextual fear conditioning

George S. Portugal, Thomas J. Gould

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Bupropion, a norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitor and nicotinic acetylcholine receptor antagonist, facilitates smoking cessation and reduces some symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. However, the effects of bupropion on nicotine withdrawal-associated deficits in learning remain unclear. The present study investigated whether bupropion has effects on contextual and cued fear conditioning following withdrawal from chronic nicotine or when administered alone. Bupropion was administered alone for a range of doses (2.5, 5, 10, 20 or 40 mg/kg), and dose-dependent impairments in contextual and cued fear conditioning were observed (20 or 40 mg/kg). Follow-up studies investigated if bupropion disrupted acquisition or expression of fear conditioning. Bupropion (40 mg/kg) administration on training day only produced deficits in contextual fear conditioning. Alternatively, bupropion (20 or 40 mg/kg) administration during testing dose-dependently produced deficits in contextual and cued fear conditioning. To test the effect of bupropion on nicotine withdrawal, mice were withdrawn from 12 days of chronic nicotine (6.3 mg/kg/day) or saline treatment. Withdrawal from chronic nicotine disrupted contextual fear conditioning; however, 5 mg/kg bupropion reversed this deficit. Overall, these results indicate that a low dose of bupropion can reverse nicotine withdrawal deficits in contextual fear conditioning, but that high doses of bupropion produce deficits in fear conditioning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-187
Number of pages9
JournalPharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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