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Whole tobacco smoke extracts to model tobacco dependence in animals


Smoking tobacco is highly addictive and a leading preventable cause of death. The main addictive constituent is nicotine; consequently it has been administered to laboratory animals to model tobacco dependence. Despite extensive use, this model might not best reflect the powerful nature of tobacco dependence because nicotine is a weak reinforcer, the pharmacology of smoke is complex and non-pharmacological factors have a critical role. These limitations have led researchers to expose animals to smoke via the inhalative route, or to administer aqueous smoke extracts to produce more representative models. The aim was to review the findings from molecular/behavioural studies comparing the effects of nicotine to tobacco/smoke extracts to determine whether the extracts produce a distinct model. Indeed, nicotine and tobacco extracts yielded differential effects, supporting the initiative to use extracts as a complement to nicotine. Of the behavioural tests, intravenous self-administration experiments most clearly revealed behavioural differences between nicotine and extracts. Thus, future applications for use of this behavioural model were proposed that could offer new insights into tobacco dependence.

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