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.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Biological Psychiatry
- Behavioral Neuroscience