, Volume 178, Issue 4, pp 481–492 | Cite as

Nicotine induces conditioned place preferences over a large range of doses in rats

  • Bernard Le FollEmail author
  • Steven R. GoldbergEmail author
Original Investigation



Conditioned place preference (CPP) procedures provide one measure of potential rewarding effects of abused drugs. Many attempts to induce CPP with nicotine have been unsuccessful.


To assess the influence of nicotine dose and stimulus assignment procedure on development of nicotine-induced CPP.


Initial preferences for one side of a two-compartment apparatus were first determined in Sprague–Dawley rats. In subsequent conditioning trials, the compartment paired with nicotine was the initially preferred side for half of the rats, and the initially non-preferred side for the other half. Rats received either an injection of nicotine (0.01–2 mg/kg SC) before being placed in one compartment (three trials) or saline before being placed in the other compartment (three trials). Control rats had saline injections associated with both compartments. A final test trial with no injection assessed final place preference.


Significant CPP were induced by 0.1–1.4 mg/kg doses of nicotine. Nicotine-induced CPP were only apparent when nicotine was paired with the initially non-preferred side. Moreover, a very high dose of nicotine (2 mg/kg) induced conditioned place aversion when paired with the initially preferred side of the apparatus.


Nicotine induced significant CPP across a wide range of doses, in accordance with its role as the primary addictive component of tobacco. Small preferences for one side of the apparatus played a major role in the development of nicotine-induced CPP. These findings suggest that biased procedures may be more suitable than unbiased procedures for evaluation of rewarding effects of nicotine using CPP paradigms.


Conditioned place preference Reward Biased procedure Unbiased procedure Nicotine Rats Tobacco smoking CB1 Dopamine D3 receptor Rimonabant BP.897 SR141716 



This study was supported by the Intramural Research Program (B. Le Foll, Principal Investigator) of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, NIH, DHHS. B.L.F. is a visiting fellow at NIDA and his move to NIDA was supported by the Gilbert Lagrue Foundation and the Simone and Cino del Duca Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Preclinical Pharmacology Section, Behavioral Neuroscience Research Branch, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of HealthDepartment of Health and Human ServicesBaltimoreUSA

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