Alleviating addiction to tobacco products could prevent millions of deaths. Investigating novel compounds selectively targeting ?4?2 nAChRs hypothesized to have a key role in the rewarding effects of nicotine may be a useful approach for future treatment.
The present study was designed to evaluate 2-fluoro-3-(4-nitrophenyl) deschloroepibatidine (4-nitro-PFEB), a potent competitive antagonist of neuronal ?4?2 nAChRs, in several animal models related to nicotine reward: drug discrimination, intracranial self-stimulation (ICSS), conditioned place preference, and limited access to self-administration.
Long Evans rats were trained in a two-lever discrimination procedure to discriminate 0.4 mg/kg nicotine (s.c.) from saline. Male Sprague–Dawley rats were stereotaxically implanted with electrodes and trained to respond for direct electrical stimulation of the medial forebrain bundle. ICR mice were evaluated using an unbiased place preference paradigm, and finally, male Wistar rats were implanted with intrajugular catheters and tested for nicotine self-administration under limited access (1 h/day).
4-Nitro-PFEB attenuated the discriminative stimulus effects of nicotine, but alone did not produce nicotine-like discriminative stimulus effects. Nicotine-induced facilitation of ICSS reward thresholds was reversed by 4-nitro-PFEB, which alone had no effect on thresholds. 4-Nitro-PFEB also blocked the conditioned place preference produced by nicotine, but alone had no effect on conditioned place preference. Finally, 4-nitro-PFEB dose-dependently decreased nicotine self-administration.
These results support the hypothesis that neuronal ?4?2 nAChRs play a key role in mediating the rewarding effects of nicotine and further suggest that targeting ?4?2 nAChRs may yield a potential candidate for the treatment of nicotine dependence.
Effects of the specific a4B2 nAChR antagonist, 2-fluoro-3-(4-nitrophenyl) deschloroepibatidine, on nicotine reward-related behaviors in rats and mice