Accentuating effects of nicotine on ethanol response in mice with high genetic predisposition to ethanol-induced locomotor stimulation

N. R. Gubner, C. S. McKinnon, C. Reed, Tamara Phillips

13 Scopus citations


Background: Co-morbid use of nicotine-containing tobacco products and alcohol is prevalent in alcohol dependent individuals. Common genetic factors could influence initial sensitivity to the independent or interactive effects of these drugs and play a role in their co-abuse. Methods: Locomotor sensitivity to nicotine and ethanol, alone and in combination, was assessed in mice bred for high (FAST) and low (SLOW) sensitivity to the locomotor stimulant effects of ethanol and in an inbred strain of mouse (DBA/2J) that has been shown to have extreme sensitivity to ethanol-induced stimulation in comparison to other strains. Results: The effects of nicotine and ethanol, alone and in combination, were dependent on genotype. In FAST and DBA/2J mice that show high sensitivity to ethanol-induced stimulation, nicotine accentuated the locomotor stimulant response to ethanol. This effect was not found in SLOW mice that are not stimulated by ethanol alone. Conclusions: These data indicate that genes underlying differential sensitivity to the stimulant effects of ethanol alone also influence sensitivity to nicotine in combination with ethanol. Sensitivity to the stimulant effects of nicotine alone does not appear to predict the response to the drug combination, as FAST mice are sensitive to nicotine-induced stimulation, whereas SLOW and DBA/2J mice are not. The combination of nicotine and ethanol may have genotype-dependent effects that could impact co-abuse liability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)108-114
Number of pages7
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2013


  • Activity
  • Alcohol
  • Ethanol
  • Mice
  • Nicotine
  • Stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)

Cite this