6. Effects of Alcohol and Nicotine Co-dependence in a Binge-like Animal Model

Shriya Vinjimoor Butler University
Faculty Sponsor(s): Jennifer Berry Butler University
Tobacco and alcohol abuse remain two of the leading causes of preventable deaths in America. Substance abuse results in severe health consequences, such as substance dependence and cirrhosis. While nicotine and alcohol can be abused independently, they are often consumed together, as approximately 2.5 million Americans suffer from co-morbid alcohol and nicotine use disorder. Although there is mechanistic overlap between alcohol and nicotine, the effects of their co-consumption, rather than individual intake, are not yet well researched. Through using 40 adult C57BL/6J mice, this study examined the behavioral and hormonal effects of alcohol and nicotine co-dependence. Plasma samples were drawn (n = 16) prior to the start of the experiment in order to analyze basal corticosterone, or stress hormone, levels. Mice then underwent the DID paradigm during which substances (alcohol, nicotine, alcohol+nicotine, or water) were only available for 4 hours during the dark period. Four weeks later, drugs were removed and mice were examined for withdrawal signs approximately 20 hours later through either somatic signs analysis (n = 24) or plasma analysis (n = 16). Results for blood corticosterone levels were inconclusive, while behavioral data displayed a trend towards anxiety-like behavior being more frequent in co-dependence than individual substance consumption. Consumption data indicates that exposure to alcohol while consuming nicotine significantly increases the amount of nicotine consumed (p = .0012) but not vice versa. These results suggest that binge-like co-consumption of alcohol and nicotine may be more attributable to the rewarding effects of alcohol than to the effects of nicotine.
Poster Presentation

When & Where

Irwin Library Lower Level