Effects of nicotine conditioning history on alcohol and methamphetamine self-administration in rats

Patrick A. Randall, Brayden Fortino, Y. Wendy Huynh, Brady M. Thompson, Christopher E. Larsen, Mackenzie P. Callen, Scott T. Barrett, Jennifer E. Murray, Rick A. Bevins, Joyce Besheer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Smoking constitutes a significant public health risk. Alcohol and methamphetamine use disorders are also highly co-morbid with smoking, further increasing negative health outcomes. An important question in determining the underlying neurobiology of nicotine poly-drug use is understanding whether having a positive history with nicotine effects alters later drug-taking behavior. Methods: The current experiments sought to elucidate whether having an appetitive nicotine conditioning history would affect later alcohol or methamphetamine self-administration. Adult male and female Long-Evans rats were first trained on a discriminated goal-tracking task in which the interoceptive effects of nicotine predicted sucrose reinforcement. As a control, pseudo-conditioned groups were included that had equated nicotine and sucrose experience. Rats were then shifted to either alcohol self-administration or methamphetamine self-administration. Results: Nicotine conditioning history had no effect on acquisition or maintenance of alcohol self-administration in males or females. In contrast, an appetitive nicotine conditioning history decreased methamphetamine self-administration in female rats, but not males. Conclusions: In female, but not male, rats, an appetitive conditioning history with nicotine decreases methamphetamine, but not alcohol, self-administration. This dissociation suggests that the effects may be due to a specific increase in the reinforcing value of methamphetamine. This may have implications for better understanding the progression of drug use from nicotine to methamphetamine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalPharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior
StatePublished - Apr 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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