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Nicotine-produced relearning deficit in C57BL/6J and DBA/2J mice


Acute nicotine administration has been shown to influence the acquisition and retention of learning tasks. In order to investigate the many possible behavioral and pharmacological effects of nicotine, a modified 2×2 statedependent learning design was used to assess nicotine's effects on active avoidance learning. Male and female mice of the C57BL/6J (C57) and DBA/2J (DBA) inbred strains were injected with a control solution or with 0.5, 1.0, or 2.0 mg/kg nicotine 5 min before the start of training and, following a 24-h period, 5 min before retraining. Nicotine had no effect on the acquisition of the learning task but, depending on strain and sex, did have an effect on relearning. Relearning in the C57 males was unaffected by nicotine injection, whereas the most prominent effect of nicotine in the C57 females and the DBA males and females was a retrieval deficit. The prevalence of a nicotine-induced retrieval deficit in the present experiment suggests that those mechanisms underlying the retrieval of previously learned information are, in part, mediated or modulated by perturbations within nicotine-sensitive areas of the central nervous system.

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Correspondence to David M. Gilliam.

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Gilliam, D.M., Schlesinger, K. Nicotine-produced relearning deficit in C57BL/6J and DBA/2J mice. Psychopharmacology 86, 291–295 (1985).

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Key words

  • Nicotine
  • State-dependent learning
  • Memory
  • Inbred mice
  • Retrieval deficit