Advertisement

Psychopharmacology

, Volume 114, Issue 4, pp 628–634 | Cite as

A low dose of subcutaneous nicotine improves information processing in non-smokers

  • Jacques Le Houezec
  • Roy Halliday
  • Neal L. Benowitz
  • Enoch Callaway
  • Hilary Naylor
  • Karen Herzig
Original Investigations

Abstract

Many studies have found that cigarette smoking or nicotine improves mental functioning in abstinent smokers. An unresolved issue is whether this improvement is due primarily to a direct facilitation of performance or to relief of the impairment caused by nicotine withdrawal. We evaluated the performance of 12 non-smokers before and twice (15 and 45 min) after a subcutaneous injection of 0.8 mg nicotine, 0.8 ml saline, and a control no treatment, on a choice reaction time (RT) task. Each treatment was given on a separate day; the control day was given on the first session. The order of nicotine and saline was balanced between subjects, and injections were given double-blind. The RT task manipulated stimulus and response processing. These manipulations consisted of two levels of stimulus complexity and two levels of response complexity, resulting in four task conditions. These manipulations along with latency measures of the event-related potential were used to identify the components of processing that mediated nicotine's effects on performance. During each active drug session blood nicotine levels, cardiovascular, and subjective responses were measured before and after each of the three tests (pre-drug, 15 min and 45 min post-drug). For the information processing measures only the comparisons of the pre- and 15-min post-test showed significant drug effects. Nicotine compared to saline significantly increased the number of responses at the fast end of the RT distribution. However, there were no changes in accuracy. Nicotine also speeded mean RT compared with saline or the control day, but the effects were only significant for the control-nicotine comparison. There was an interaction between effects of nicotine and the task variables, such that nicotine speeded P3 latency in the hardest task condition, while slowing it in the other task conditions. Nicotine significantly increased heart rate, which lasted for the entire session. Blood nicotine levels were lower than expected from a preliminary study in smokers and may have been responsible for the smaller than expected mean RT effects. These findings suggest that even a low dose of nicotine directly affects attention or stimulus processing components of information processing. This study also illustrates the importance of assessing both multiple components of information processing and nicotine levels when examining the effects of nicotine on cognition.

Key words

Blood nicotine N100 Nicotine Nonsmokers P300 Reaction time Speed accuracy Subcutaneous 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Benowitz NL, Jacob P III (1984) Daily intake of nicotine during cigarette smoking. Clin Pharmacol Ther 35:499–504Google Scholar
  2. Benowitz NL, Porchet H, Jacob P III (1990) Pharmacokinetics, metabolism, and pharmacodynamics of nicotine. In: Wonnacott S, Russell MAH, Stolerman IP (eds) Nicotine psychopharmacology: molecular, cellular, and behavioral aspects. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 112–157Google Scholar
  3. Brandeis D, Naylor H, Halliday R, Callaway E, Yano, L (1992) Scopolamine effects on visual information processing, attention and event-related potential map latencies. Psychopharmacology 29 [3]:315–336.Google Scholar
  4. Callaway E (1984) Human information processing: some effects of methylphenidate, age and scopolamine. Biol Psychiatry 19:649–662Google Scholar
  5. Callaway E, Halliday R, Naylor H, Schechter G (1985) Effects of oral scopolamine on human stimulus evaluation. Psychopharmacology 85:133–138Google Scholar
  6. Edwards JA, Wesnes K, Warburton DM, Gale A (1985) Evidence of more rapid stimulus evaluation following cigarette smoking. Addict Behav 10:113–126Google Scholar
  7. Feyerabend C, Ings RM and Russell MAH (1985) Nicotine pharmacokinetics and its application to intake from smoking. Br J Clin Pharmacol 19:239–247Google Scholar
  8. Halliday R, Naylor H, Callaway E, Yano L, Walton P (1987) What's done can't always be undone: the effects of stimulant drugs and dopamine blockers on information processing. In: Johnson R, Rohrbaugh JW Jr, Parasuraman R (eds) Current trends in event-related potential research (EEG Suppl. 40). Elsevier, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  9. Halliday R, Callaway E, Lannon R (1989) The effects of clonidine and yohimbine on human information processing. Psychopharmacology 99:563–566Google Scholar
  10. Herning R, Pickworth W (1985) Nicotine gum improved stimulus processing during tobacco withdrawal. Psychophysiology 22:594Google Scholar
  11. Hughes JR (1991) Distinguishing withdrawal relief and direct effects of smoking. Psychopharmacology 104:409–410Google Scholar
  12. Hughes JR, Higgins ST, Hatsukami D (1990) Effects of abstinence from tobacco: a critical review. In: Kozlowski LT, Annis HM, Cappell HD, Glaser FB, Goodstadt MS, Israel Y, Kalant H, Sellers EM, Vingilis ER (eds) Research advances in alcohol and drug problems, vol. 10. Plenum, New York, pp 317–398Google Scholar
  13. Jacob P III, Wilson M, Benowitz NL (1981) Improved gas chromatographic method for the determination of nicotine and cotinine in biologic fluids. J Chromatogr 222:61–70Google Scholar
  14. Jones GM, Sahakian, Levy R, Warburton DM, Gray JA (1992) Effects of acute subcutaneous nicotine on attention, information processing and short-term memory in Alzheimer's disease. Psychopharmacology 108:485–494Google Scholar
  15. Kutas M, McCarthy G, Donchin E (1977) Augmenting mental chronometry: P300 as a measure of stimulus evaluation time. Science 197:792–795Google Scholar
  16. Le Houezec J, Benowitz NL (1991) Basic and clinical psychopharmacology of nicotine. Clin Chest Med 12:681–699Google Scholar
  17. Le Houezec J, Jacob P III, Benowitz NL (1993) A clinical pharmacological study of subcutaneous nicotine. Eur J Clin Pharmacol 44:225–230Google Scholar
  18. Luck SJ, Heinze HJ, Mangun GR, Hillyard SA (1990) Visual event-related potentials index focused attention within bilateral stimulus arrays: II. Functional dissociation of P1 and N1 components. Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol 75:528–542Google Scholar
  19. Magliero A, Bashore TR, Coles MGH, Donchin E (1984) On the dependence of P300 latency on stimulus evaluation processes. Psychophysiology 21:171–186Google Scholar
  20. McKennell AC (1970) Smoking motivation factors. Br J Soc Clin Psychol 9:8–22Google Scholar
  21. Naylor H, Halliday R, Callaway E (1985) The effects of methylphenidate on human information processing. Psychopharmacology 86:90–95Google Scholar
  22. Naylor H, Callaway E, Halliday R (1993) Biochemical correlates of human information processing. In: Vernon PA (ed) Biological approaches to the study of human intelligence. Ablex, Norwood, N.J., pp 333–373Google Scholar
  23. Russell MAH, Peto J, Patel UA (1974) The classification of smoking by factorial structure of motives. J Statist Soc [A] 137:313–346Google Scholar
  24. Servan-Schreiber D, Callaway E, Halliday R, Yano L, Naylor H (1993) Neural network models of psychoactive drug effects on human information processing. In: Peslow E, Tomoro N (eds) The effects of medication and psychopathology on memory. APA, Washington, DC (in press)Google Scholar
  25. US Department of Health and Human Services (1988) The health consequences of smoking: Nicotine addiction. A report of the Surgeon General. US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Services, Office on smoking and health. DHHS Publication No. (CDC) 88-8406Google Scholar
  26. Van der Molen M, Bashore T, Halliday R, Callaway E (1991) Chronopsychophysiology: mental chronometry augmented by physiological time markers. In: Jennings JR, Coles MGH (eds) Handbook of cognitive psychophysiology. Wiley, ChicesterGoogle Scholar
  27. Warburton DM, Wesnes K, Shergold K, James M (1986) Facilitation of learning and state dependency with nicotine. Psychopharmacology 89:55–59Google Scholar
  28. Wesnes K, Revell A (1984) The separate and combined effects of scopolamine and nicotine on human information processing. Psychopharmacology 84:5–11Google Scholar
  29. Wesnes K, Warburton DM (1978) The effects of cigarette smoking and nicotine tablets upon human attention. In: Thornton RE (ed) Smoking behavior: physiological and psychological influences. Churchill Livingstone, Edinburgh, pp 131–144Google Scholar
  30. Wesnes K, Warburton DM (1983) Effects of smoking on rapid information processing performance. Neuropsychobiology 9:223–229Google Scholar
  31. Wesnes K, Warburton DM (1984) Effects of scopolamine and nicotine on human rapid information processing performance. Psychopharmacology 82:147–150Google Scholar
  32. Wesnes K, Warburton DM, Matz B (1983) Effects of nicotine on stimulus sensitivity and response bias in a visual vigilance task. Neuropsychobiology 9:41–44Google Scholar
  33. Woods CC, Jennings JR (1976) Speed-accuracy tradeoff functions in choice reaction time: Experimental designs and computational procedures. Percept Psychophys 19:92–101Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jacques Le Houezec
    • 1
  • Roy Halliday
    • 2
  • Neal L. Benowitz
    • 3
    • 4
  • Enoch Callaway
    • 2
  • Hilary Naylor
    • 2
  • Karen Herzig
    • 2
  1. 1.CNRS CNRS EP 53, Hôpital de la Salpêtrière, Pavillon ClérambaultParis Cedex 13France
  2. 2.Psychiatry ResearchVeterans Affairs Medical Center and the Northern California Institute for Education and ResearchSan FranciscoUSA
  3. 3.The Division of Clinical Pharmacology and Experimental TherapeuticsSan Francisco General Hospital Medical CenterUSA
  4. 4.the Departments of Medicine and PsychiatryUniversity of CaliforniaSan FranciscoUSA

Personalised recommendations