Nicotine Enhances Contextual Fear Conditioning and Ameliorates Ethanol-Induced Deficits in Contextual Fear Conditioning

Thomas J. Gould, Joel A. Lommock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations

Abstract

Nicotine and ethanol are 2 commonly used and abused drugs that have divergent effects on learning. The present study examined the effects of acute nicotine (0.25 mg/kg), ethanol (1.0 g/kg), and ethanol-nicotine coadministration on fear conditioning in C57BL/6 mice. Mice were assessed for contextual and cued fear conditioning at 1 day and 1 week posttraining. Ethanol disrupted acquisition but not consolidation of contextual fear conditioning; nicotine enhanced contextual fear conditioning and ameliorated ethanol-associated deficits in contextual fear conditioning. Mecamylamine antagonized this effect. Fear conditioning was reassessed 1 week after initial testing with no drug administered. At the 1-week retest, mice previously treated with nicotine continued to show enhanced contextual fear, and mice previously treated with ethanol continued to show contextual fear deficits. Thus, nicotine both produces a long-lasting enhancement of contextual fear conditioning and protects against ethanol-associated deficits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1276-1282
Number of pages7
JournalBehavioral Neuroscience
Volume117
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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