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Nicotine to reduce the psychological impact of stress

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Technical Report,01 Jan 2017,31 Dec 2018

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McLean Hospital Belmont United States

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This final report describes progress and accomplishments in Years 1-2 of our 2-year award, which was designed to use animal models to understand how nicotine ingested by Soldiers via smoking or chewing tobacco affects vulnerability to develop post-traumatic stress disorder PTSD. We had previously discovered studies in which rats voluntarily self-administer nicotine to the point of dependence, receive fear conditioning training, and are tested for fear responses 10 days later with no additional access to nicotine have abnormally reduced responses to environments previously associated with the stressor, which we term context-potentiated startle CPS. These previous findings suggest that self-administered nicotine is producing some anti-anxiety beneficialeffects under these specific conditions. The current studies were designed to see if non-voluntary nicotine administration, modeling the nicotine patch, also produces the same outcomes. Aim 1 was designed to examine the long-term effects of nicotine infusion on fear behaviors when the nicotine is discontinued after the traumatic event. Aim 2 was designed to examine the long-term effects of nicotine infusion on fear behaviors when the nicotine is continued after the traumatic event. Aim 1 results are encouraging, in that it appears that nicotine may have some medically-useful effects in protecting the rats from the behavioral consequences of stress. The most therapeutic-like findings are found at an intermittent duration of pre-treatment 10 days, followed by termination of the nicotine exposure after the trauma. Shorter periods of nicotine have no effects, whereas longer periods of nicotine results in loss of efficacy see below. Aim 2 results were more variable and thus less encouraging.

Subject Categories:

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Medicine and Medical Research

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