Cognitive deficits, such as disrupted learning, are a major symptom of nicotine withdrawal. These deficits are heritable, yet their genetic basis is largely unknown. Our lab has developed a mouse model of nicotine withdrawal deficits in learning, using chronic nicotine exposure via osmotic minipumps and fear conditioning. Here, we utilized the BXD genetic reference panel to identify genetic variants underlying nicotine withdrawal deficits in learning. Male and female mice (n = 6–11 per sex per strain, 31 strains) received either chronic saline or nicotine (6.3 mg/kg per day for 12 days), and were then tested for hippocampus-dependent learning deficits using contextual fear conditioning. Quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping analyses using GeneNetwork identified a significant QTL on Chromosome 4 (82.13 Mb, LRS = 20.03, p < 0.05). Publicly available hippocampal gene expression data were used to identify eight positional candidates (Snacpc3, Mysm1, Rps6, Plaa, Lurap1l, Slc24a2, Hacd4, Ptprd) that overlapped with our behavioral QTL and correlated with our behavioral data. Overall, this study demonstrates that genetic factors impact cognitive deficits during nicotine withdrawal in the BXD recombinant inbred panel and identifies candidate genes for future research.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Behavioral Neuroscience