Comparison of the behavioral effects of cigarette smoke and pure nicotine in rats

Andrew C. Harris, Christina Mattson, Mark G. LeSage, Daniel E. Keyler, Paul R. Pentel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Animal models of tobacco dependence typically rely on parenteral administration of pure nicotine. Models using cigarette smoke inhalation might more accurately simulate nicotine exposure in smokers. The primary goal of this study was to validate methods for administering cigarette smoke to rats using exposure conditions that were clinically relevant and also produced brain nicotine levels similar to those produced by behaviorally active doses of pure nicotine. A secondary goal was to begin examining the behavioral effects of smoke. Nose-only exposure (NOE) to smoke for 10-45. min or whole-body exposure (WBE) to smoke for 1-4. h produced serum nicotine concentrations similar to those in smokers (14-55. ng/ml), without excessive carbon monoxide exposure. Daily nicotine (0.1. mg/kg, s.c.) induced locomotor sensitization whereas 45-min NOE producing brain nicotine levels within the same range did not. Nicotine 0.125. mg/kg s.c. reversed withdrawal from a chronic nicotine infusion as measured by elevations in intracranial self-stimulation thresholds whereas 4-h WBE producing similar brain nicotine levels did not. These data demonstrate the feasibility of delivering cigarette smoke to rats at clinically relevant doses, and provide preliminary evidence that the behavioral effects of nicotine delivered in smoke may differ from those of pure nicotine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)217-227
Number of pages11
JournalPharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Supported by National Institute on Drug Abuse Grants DA10714 (Pentel PI), T32 DA 07097 (Harris), and F32 DA021935 (Harris), the University of Minnesota Cancer Center Prevention and Etiology Program (Pentel), the University of Minnesota Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Center Pilot Grant (LeSage and Harris), and the Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation Translational Addiction Research Program (Harris). The authors have no financial conflicts of interest to report.


  • Cigarette smoke
  • Intracranial self-stimulation
  • Locomotor sensitization
  • Nicotine
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Rat
  • Withdrawal

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Comparison of the behavioral effects of cigarette smoke and pure nicotine in rats'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this