Psychopharmacology

, Volume 212, Issue 3, pp 321–328

Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors are required for the conditioned reinforcing properties of sucrose-associated cues

  • Elin Löf
  • Peter Olausson
  • Rosita Stomberg
  • Jane R. Taylor
  • Bo Söderpalm
original investigation

DOI: 10.1007/s00213-010-1957-x

Cite this article as:
Löf, E., Olausson, P., Stomberg, R. et al. Psychopharmacology (2010) 212: 321. doi:10.1007/s00213-010-1957-x

Abstract

Rationale

We recently demonstrated that blocking specific nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) abolishes the conditioned reinforcing properties of ethanol-associated cues in rat, suggesting nAChRs as promising pharmacological targets for prevention of cue-induced relapse.

Objectives

The present study investigated the involvement of nAChR subtypes in the conditioned reinforcing properties of stimuli associated with a natural reward (sucrose).

Methods

Water-deprived rats were trained to associate a tone + light stimulus (CS) with the presentation of a 0.1 M sucrose solution for 10 consecutive days. On the subsequent day, the animals were tested on the stringent acquisition of a new instrumental response with conditioned reinforcement, following a systemic injection of the nonselective nAChR antagonist mecamylamine (MEC) or the selective α7 and α6/α3β2β3* nAChR antagonist methyllycaconitine (MLA). At testing, the rats were presented with two novel levers. Responding on the lever assigned as active (CR lever) resulted in a presentation of the CS alone, while pressing the inactive lever (NCR lever) had no programmed consequences.

Results

Control animals pressed the CR lever significantly more than the NCR lever, demonstrating that the CR had acquired conditioned reinforcing properties. Systemic MEC as well as MLA reduced the CR lever responses to the same level as for the NCR lever.

Conclusions

These results demonstrate a role for the α7 and/or α6/α3β2β3* nAChRs in conditioned reinforcement to a natural reward and suggest neuronal nAChRs as common mediators of the impact of cues on incentive processes.

Keywords

Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor Conditioned reinforcement Addiction Reward Rat 

Abbreviations

nAChR

Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor

CS

Conditioned stimulus

US

Unconditioned stimulus

MEC

Mecamylamine

MLA

Methyllycaconitine citrate

CR

Conditioned reinforcement

VTA

Ventral tegmental area

PBS

Phosphate-buffered saline

VR

Variable ratio

ANOVA

Analysis of variance

PLSD

Protected least-significant difference

α-CtxMII

α-Conotoxin MII

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elin Löf
    • 1
    • 3
  • Peter Olausson
    • 2
  • Rosita Stomberg
    • 1
  • Jane R. Taylor
    • 2
  • Bo Söderpalm
    • 1
  1. 1.Addiction Biology Unit (ABU), Institute of Neuroscience and PhysiologyThe Sahlgrenska Academy at University of GothenburgGothenburgSweden
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry, Division of Molecular PsychiatryYale University School of MedicineNew HavenUSA
  3. 3.Psychiatry/SU/SahlgrenskaGothenburgSweden

Personalised recommendations