Environmental enrichment has previously been shown to alter sensitivity to psychostimulants and opiates in various preclinical models. However, little research has been conducted studying the effects of environmental enrichment on the more commonly abused drug, nicotine. The current study raised male rats in either enriched conditions (EC) or isolated conditions (IC) and tested the animals' sensitivity to acquisition, extinction and reinstatement of nicotine conditioned place preference (CPP). Using a 3-chamber CPP apparatus, male Sprague-Dawley rats were conditioned with 1 of 3 doses of nicotine (0.4, 0.6, and 0.8 mg/kg) or saline on alternating days across 8 conditioning trials, followed by a test day for a nicotine-induced CPP response. Next, the animals had 5 extinction sessions followed by a nicotine-primed reinstatement session. EC rats displayed nicotine CPP at all 3 doses, whereas IC rats failed to show significant nicotine CPP relative to saline controls. EC rats also showed extinction of the nicotine-induced CPP response by the fifth extinction session for all 3 nicotine doses tested. However, only the 2 highest doses of the nicotine prime reinstated a CPP response in EC rats relative to saline controls. Taken together, these findings suggest that environmental enrichment may increase sensitivity to the rewarding effects of nicotine.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Pharmacology (medical)