, Volume 184, Issue 3–4, pp 494–503

Bupropion attenuates nicotine abstinence syndrome in the rat

  • David H. Malin
  • J. Ronald Lake
  • Tanya D. Smith
  • Habil N. Khambati
  • Rhonda L. Meyers-Paal
  • Ana L. Montellano
  • Ryan E. Jennings
  • Daniel S. Erwin
  • Stacey E. Presley
  • Barbara A. Perales
Original Investigation



Bupropion reduces discomfort and craving associated with smoking cessation. This study determined whether a rat model of nicotine dependence could detect such nicotine abstinence-alleviating effects.


Experiments determined whether the abstinence-alleviating effects of bupropion were detectable by (1) behavioral abstinence signs precipitated by the nicotinic antagonist mecamylamine, (2) place aversion conditioned to mecamylamine-precipitated nicotine abstinence, and (3) spontaneous behavioral abstinence signs after abrupt nicotine withdrawal.


In experiments 1 and 2, nicotine-dependent rats were coinfused for 7 days with 3.15 mg/kg/day nicotine and 20 mg/kg/day bupropion or with nicotine alone. They were then challenged with 1 mg/kg mecamylamine and observed for behavioral abstinence signs (experiment 1) or place aversion conditioned to precipitated abstinence (experiment 2). In experiment 3, rats were nicotine-infused for 7 days as above. A day after termination of nicotine infusion, rats were observed for spontaneous nicotine abstinence signs before and after injection with saline or bupropion.


In experiment 1, rats coinfused with nicotine and bupropion had significantly fewer mecamylamine-precipitated abstinence signs than rats infused with nicotine alone but similar numbers to rats infused with saline alone. In experiment 2, bupropion pretreatment significantly reduced the aversiveness of mecamylamine-precipitated nicotine abstinence. In experiment 3, a single bupropion injection dose-dependently alleviated spontaneous nicotine abstinence syndrome.


These results suggest that these rat models of nicotine dependence and abstinence syndrome may be useful in detecting nicotine abstinence-alleviating effects of potential medications for smoking cessation. The effects of acute bupropion administration raise interesting questions regarding bupropion's mechanism of action.


Nicotine dependence Nicotine withdrawal Conditioned place aversion Mecamylamine Smoking cessation Rat 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • David H. Malin
    • 1
  • J. Ronald Lake
    • 1
  • Tanya D. Smith
    • 1
  • Habil N. Khambati
    • 1
  • Rhonda L. Meyers-Paal
    • 1
  • Ana L. Montellano
    • 1
  • Ryan E. Jennings
    • 1
  • Daniel S. Erwin
    • 1
  • Stacey E. Presley
    • 1
  • Barbara A. Perales
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Houston-Clear LakeHoustonUSA

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