Increased Risky Choice and Reduced CHRNB2 Expression in Adult Male Rats Exposed to Nicotine Vapor


While the cognitive enhancing effects of nicotine use have been well documented, it has also been shown to impair decision making. The goal of this study was to determine if exposure to nicotine vapor increases risky decision making. The study also aims to investigate possible longterm effects of nicotine vapor exposure on the expression of genes coding for cholinergic and dopaminergic receptors in brain. Thirty-two adult male Sprague Dawley rats were exposed to 24 mg/mL nicotine vapor or vehicle control, immediately followed by testing in the probability discounting task for 10 consecutive days. Fifty-four days after the 10-day vapor exposure, animals were sacrificed and expression of genes coding for the α4 and β2 cholinergic receptor subunits, and dopamine D1 and D2 receptors, were analyzed using RT-PCR. Exposure to nicotine vapor caused an immediate and transient increase in risky choice. Analyses of gene expression identified significant reductions in CHRNB2 and DRD1 in the nucleus accumbens core and CHRNB2 and DRD2 in the medial prefrontal cortex of rats previously exposed to nicotine vapor, relative to vehicle controls. Results provide data on the negative cognitive effects of nicotine vapor exposure and identify cholinergic and dopaminergic mechanisms that may affected with repeated use.

Publication Title

International Journal of Molecular Sciences