Effect of Bupropion on Nicotine Self-Administration in Rats
Rationale and objective
The mechanisms underlying the therapeutic efficacy of bupropion as a smoking cessation agent are unknown. Bupropion inhibits monoamine uptake as well as neuronal nicotinic receptor (nAChR) function. The present study compared effects of bupropion on nicotine self-administration to those of other stimulant drugs (methamphetamine and apomorphine) that lack nAChR activity in order to determine its mechanism of action. To determine the specificity of bupropion-induced changes in nicotine self-administration, the ability of bupropion to alter sucrose-maintained responding or amphetamine self-administration was determined.
In nicotine and amphetamine self-administration and sucrose-maintained responding experiments, rats responded for nicotine (0.01 or 0.02 mg/kg per infusion, IV), amphetamine (0.2 mg/kg per infusion, IV) and sucrose pellets (45 mg), respectively, on a fixed ratio 5 schedule. Once responding stabilized, rats were pretreated 15 min before the session with bupropion (1–78 mg/kg) or vehicle. The ability of methamphetamine (0.3–3 mg/kg) or apomorphine (0.01–0.2 mg/kg) to alter responding for nicotine (0.02 mg/kg per infusion, IV) was determined.
Bupropion produced a biphasic dose-response pattern at both nicotine infusion doses, increasing infusions at low bupropion doses and decreasing infusions at high bupropion doses. Methamphetamine produced a similar biphasic pattern, whereas apomorphine only decreased nicotine infusions at high doses. Bupropion dose-dependently decreased responding for sucrose and amphetamine.
These results suggest that high bupropion doses decrease responding nonspecifically; whereas low bupropion doses selectively increase responding for nicotine. The increase in nicotine self-administration is likely due to inhibition of dopamine and norepinephrine transporters, combined with inhibition of nAChRs.
Rauhut, Anthony S., Nicole Neugebauer, Linda P. Dwoskin, and Michael T. Bardo. "Effect of Bupropion on Nicotine Self-Administration in Rats." Psychopharmacology 169, no. 1 (2003): 1-9.