Wistar Kyoto and Wistar Rats Differ in the Affective and Locomotor Effects of Nicotine

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Physiology and Behavior


Anhedonia is a characteristic of clinical depression and has been associated with dysfunction of the mesolimbic dopaminergic system, a system also involved in mediating nicotine reward. To further examine the relationship between anhedonia, clinical depression and nicotine reward, the present experiment determined if Wistar Kyoto (WKY) rats, an animal model of clinical depression, differed from Wistar rats in nicotine conditioned place preference (CPP). Strain differences in nicotine-induced changes in locomotor activity also were determined simultaneously. To determine if strain differences were specific to reward-based learning, nicotine or lithium chloride (LiCl) conditioned taste avoidance (CTA) experiments were conducted. Rats received vehicle or nicotine (0.4 or 0.8 mg/kg) during a multi-trial, biased CPP training procedure or received vehicle, nicotine (0.2, 0.4 or 0.8 mg/kg) or lithium chloride (LiCl; 0.0375, 0.075 or 0.15 M) during a multi-trial CTA training procedure. Whereas both nicotine doses (0.4 and 0.8 mg/kg) initially induced hypoactivity, only the moderate nicotine dose (0.4 mg/kg) induced hyperactivity with repeated administration and produced a CPP in Wistar rats. Both nicotine doses failed to alter locomotor activity or produce a CPP in WKY rats. WKY rats also acquired a LiCl CTA more slowly and less robustly compared to Wistar rats. In contrast, nicotine dose-dependently produced a CTA in both strains and WKY rats were more sensitive to the avoidance effects of nicotine compared to Wistar rats. Collectively, these results suggest that WKY rats show deficits in nicotine reward and specific aversive drug stimuli compared to Wistar rats.


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