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Preclinical and clinical research on the discriminative stimulus effects of nicotine

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Mohammed Shoaib


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© 2020 Elsevier LtdAcross species, nicotine can produce robust discriminative stimulus (DS) effects, as with other drugs of abuse, a feature that has been harnessed to advance our understanding on the neuropharmacological mechanisms of nicotine's actions. With the crucial role played by nicotine in supporting tobacco dependence, nicotine DS effects have presented an ideal platform to develop novel generation of smoking cessation compounds. Findings from preclinical strands of research have invigorated the field of human discrimination research to objectively assess nicotine's interoceptive stimulus effects. As such, translation studies provide proof of concept for nicotine DS research as a method to assess the subjective effects of nicotine per se, separate from non-nicotine stimuli involved in smoking. Recent clinical studies with low doses have demonstrated that perceiving nicotine's DS effects is necessary, yet not sufficient, for that dose to be reinforcing. These measures have been instrumental in developing novel strategies with regards to establishing threshold doses of nicotine contained in tobacco products, to then determine subthreshold doses that cannot be discriminated and, therefore, fail to maintain reinforcement. Findings from preclinical and clinical nicotine DS research could substantially inform public health policies aimed at regulating nicotine content of consumer products so that they minimize risks of dependency.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Shoaib M, Perkins KA

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Neuropharmacology

Year: 2020

Volume: 170

Print publication date: 15/06/2020

Online publication date: 24/03/2020

Acceptance date: 19/03/2020

ISSN (print): 0028-3908

ISSN (electronic): 1873-7064

Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2020.108063

PubMed id: 32220607