Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) in the mesolimbic dopamine system have been implicated in ethanol behaviors. In particular, work in genetically engineered mice has demonstrated that α6-containing nAChRs are involved in ethanol consumption and sedation. A limitation of these studies is that the alteration in the receptor was present throughout development. The recently described α6β2 antagonist, N,N-decane-1,10-diyl-bis-3-picolinium diiodide (bPiDI), now makes it possible to test for the involvement of these receptors using a pharmacological approach. The aim of this study was to examine the role of α6β2 nAChRs in ethanol behaviors using a pharmacological approach. Adolescent C57BL/6J mice were treated with bPiDI 30 min prior to testing the mice for binge-like ethanol consumption in the drinking-in-the-dark (DID) test, ethanol-induced motor incoordination using the balance beam, and ethanol-induced sedation using the Loss of Righting Reflex (LORR) paradigm. Adolescent animals were chosen because they express a high amount of α6 mRNA relative to adult animals. Control studies were also performed to determine the effect of bPiDI on locomotor activity and ethanol metabolism. Female mice treated with 20 mg/kg bPiDI had reduced locomotor activity compared to saline-treated animals during the first 30 min following an acute injection. Pretreatment with the α6β2 antagonist reduced adolescent ethanol consumption but also reduced saccharin consumption. No significant effects were observed on ethanol-induced ataxia, sedation, or metabolism. This study provides evidence that α6β2 nAChRs are involved in locomotor activity as well as ethanol and saccharin consumption in adolescent animals.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Health(social science)
- Behavioral Neuroscience