, Volume 228, Issue 3, pp 359–366 | Cite as

The effects of extended intravenous nicotine administration on body weight and meal patterns in male Sprague–Dawley Rats

  • Patricia E. Grebenstein
  • Ian E. Thompson
  • Neil E. Rowland
Original Investigation



Increased appetite and weight gain after cessation is a deterrent for quitting smoking. Attempts to understand the mechanism for these effects using animals have been hampered by the difficulty or inconsistency of modeling the effects seen in humans.


To examine the effects of extended daily access to intravenous nicotine, via programmed infusions, on body weight and meal patterns in rats.


Intravenous (IV) nicotine infusions (0.06 mg/kg/inf) were administered noncontingently, every 30 min throughout the dark cycle and the last 3 h of the light cycle, to emulate self-administration. The effect of these infusions on food intake, meal patterns, and weight change were examined relative to a control group during treatment and in a post-nicotine phase.


Nicotine-treated rats gained half the weight that vehicle treated animals gained and ate approximately 20 % less food overall than vehicle-treated rats. Whereas a compensatory increase in meal frequency occurred during the dark period to account for smaller meals, no compensation was observed throughout the light period. In a post-nicotine phase, the nicotine group maintained a lower weight for 1 week and then gained weight back to control levels. The rate of weight gain post-cessation was faster in animals that had received nicotine compared to controls.


Compared to previous studies examining the effects of minipump or intraperitoneal injections of nicotine on food intake, the present study was able to detect previously unknown circadian differences in meal patterns which will be important in the development of smoking cessation and weight gain prevention drugs.


Nicotine Food intake Operant Body weight Withdrawal 



N.E. Rowland was supported by NIH DA019288.

Supplementary material

213_2013_3043_Fig4_ESM.jpg (60 kb)
Fig. S1 Total meal size. Shown are mean +/- SEM total number of pellets per meal, averaged over the ranges of days indicated during 23 hours (a), the dark period (b), or the light period (c), in animals that received either vehicle (n = 9) or .06 mg/kg/inf nicotine (n = 8) during the treatment phase. ^P < .01, *P < 0.05, **P < 0.01 difference between vehicle and nicotine (JPEG 59 kb)
213_2013_3043_MOESM1_ESM.tif (1 mb)
High resolution image (TIFF 1061 kb)
213_2013_3043_Fig5_ESM.jpg (63 kb)
Fig. S2 Total meal number. Shown are mean +/- SEM number of meals, averaged over the ranges of days indicated during 23 hours (a), the dark period (b), or the light period (c), in animals that received either vehicle (n = 9) or .06 mg/kg/inf nicotine (n = 8) during the treatment phase. ^P < .01, *P < 0.05, **P < 0.01 difference between vehicle and nicotine (JPEG 63 kb)
213_2013_3043_MOESM2_ESM.tif (1.1 mb)
High resolution image (TIFF 1088 kb)
213_2013_3043_MOESM3_ESM.docx (19 kb)
Table S1 F values for the changes in body weight over each day of the baseline, treatment, and cessation phases between the control and the .06 mg/kg inf nicotine groups (DOCX 18.6 kb)
213_2013_3043_MOESM4_ESM.docx (24 kb)
Table S2 F values for all meal pattern variables of interest, with days clustered into groups, throughout the treatment phase for the control and nicotine groups (DOCX 23 kb)
213_2013_3043_MOESM5_ESM.docx (24 kb)
Table S3 F values for all meal pattern variables of interest, with days clustered into groups, throughout the cessation phase for the control and nicotine groups (DOCX 23 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patricia E. Grebenstein
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ian E. Thompson
    • 1
  • Neil E. Rowland
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  2. 2.Minneapolis Medical Research FoundationMinneapolisUSA

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