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.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Behavioral Neuroscience