Project: Research project

Project Details


DESCRIPTION: (provided by the applicant)
Nearly 90 percent of all smokers begin smoking during adolescence and about
3,000 adolescents start smoking every day in the United States. The likelihood
of quitting smoking in adulthood is decreased dramatically when smoking
initiation begins during adolescence. In fact, adolescents who start smoking
today will smoke for as long as 20-30 years, on average, which also means that
they are more likely to experience the adverse health consequences of smoking
than are those individuals who start to smoke later in life. Despite these
staggering statistics that suggest a developmental vulnerability to nicotine,
little is known about the progression from adolescent experimentation with
cigarettes into smoking addiction. Adolescent exposure to nicotine through
cigarette smoking also appears to mark the first stage of additional addictive
drug involvement in vulnerable individuals. One hypothesis consistent with
these epidemiologic data is that the direct pharmacological actions of nicotine
in adolescence may influence the vulnerability to consume addictive drugs,
including nicotine, in adulthood. To the extent that animal models predict
self-administration of addictive substances in adults, they also could be used
to understand why adolescent humans begin to smoke, and how smoking might
increase the propensity to consume addictive drugs in some individuals.
Unfortunately, behavioral animal models of adolescent drug self-administration
are rare, particularly with respect to nicotine, the primary addictive
ingredient in cigarettes. Therefore, the present proposal will examine the
preference for nicotine in periadolescent mice given access to differences
doses of nicotine. In addition, nicotine preference will be tested in adult
mice following an opportunity to consume nicotine in the adolescent
developmental period. Results from this work will set the stage for future
research to characterize behavioral (drug self-administration) and biological
(molecular, genetic, neuroendocrine) alterations that occur following
adolescent exposure to nicotine and to aid in future development of therapies
for smoking - the single most preventable cause of death in the United States.
Effective start/end date9/30/018/31/03