Passive immunization against nicotine interferes with its locomotor and pressor effects. The current study determined whether immunization could prevent another nicotine action: the reversal of nicotine abstinence syndrome. IgG containing 4.4-5.6% nicotine-specific antibody was isolated from rabbits immunized with 3′-amino-methyl-nicotine conjugated to a carrier protein. Twenty rats were rendered dependent by 7 days of subcutaneous infusion of 3.15 mg/kg/day nicotine (expressed as the base). Upon termination of nicotine infusion, each rat was injected intraperitoneally with 150 mg of IgG from normal serum (n = 13) or from nicotine antiserum (n = 7). Twenty-two and one-half hours later, all rats were observed over 15 min for baseline nicotine abstinence signs. Two and one-half hours after baseline observations, seven of the 13 rats pretreated with control IgG and all seven rats pretreated with nicotine-specific IgG were then challenged by 0.12 mg/kg (sc) nicotine. The remaining six rats pretreated with control IgG were challenged with saline alone. All rats were then observed again for abstinence signs. Nicotine injection caused significantly less reduction of abstinence signs in the immunized rats. The nicotine effect in immunized rats was comparable to the saline effect in nonimmunized rats. Immunization also significantly reduced free serum nicotine concentration and nicotine distribution to the brain. These results raise the possibility that immunization might prevent nicotine consumption from relieving the discomforts of smoking cessation.
- Nicotine abstinence
- Nicotine dependence