Time-dependent effects of nicotine on reversal of dizocilpine-induced attentional impairment in female rats.

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Nicotine and nicotinic compounds have been found to attenuate the attentional impairments caused by the glutamate NMDA antagonist dizocilpine (MK-801). The timing of the nicotine effect on attention in rodents has not yet been determined. In the current study, we tested the interaction of dizocilpine with nicotine. Nicotine was given at a range of times (30 to 240 min) prior to dizocilpine administration and before testing on an operant signal detection task. Each rat was assessed with each dose timing. This protocol was repeated twice with one week between phases of testing. In the first phase, correct rejection performance was significantly impaired by 0.05 mg/kg of dizocilpine and this impairment was significantly attenuated by nicotine given sc 30-150 min prior to dizocilpine administration. The greater dizocilpine-induced percent correct rejection impairment seen during the first phase of drug challenge, was significantly attenuated by nicotine given 30 or 90 min before the start of the 1-h test session. During the second phase, the dizocilpine-induced repeated acquisition impairment was more modest. During this phase of testing nicotine administered 60, 90 or 150 min before testing significantly attenuated the dizocilpine-induced impairment. In both phases of testing, nicotine administration 240 min prior to testing was not seen to attenuate the dizocilpine-induced impairment. During the first phase but not the second phase, dizocilpine administration caused a significant impairment in percent hit. Nicotine was not found to have a significant effect in the second phase. Response omissions were significantly increased by dizocilpine during the first, but not the second phase. Nicotine was not found to have any significant effects on response omission. Overall, our data show that nicotine administration prior to dizocilpine administration was able to significantly improve dizocilpine-induced attentional impairment in a time-dependent manner.





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Rezvani, Amir H, Marty Cauley and Edward D Levin (2022). Time-dependent effects of nicotine on reversal of dizocilpine-induced attentional impairment in female rats. Pharmacology, biochemistry, and behavior, 215. p. 173359. 10.1016/j.pbb.2022.173359 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/29479.

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Amir H. Rezvani

Professor Emeritus in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

My research and teaching interests have been primarily focused on the following areas:

Alcoholism: I work with "alcoholic" rats with genetic predisposition!" We use selectively-bred alcohol preferring rats as an animal model of human alcoholism for developing better pharmacological treatments for alcoholism. Recently, we are working on several novel promising "anti-craving" compounds for the treatment of alcoholism. We are also studying the interaction between alcohol drinking and nicotine intake.

Nicotine Addiction: We have been studying age and sex differences in i.v. nicotine self-administration in rats. We have found that pattern of drug intake is both age- and sex-dependent. Our lab is also exploring different neuronal targets for developing better pharmacologic treatment for nicotine addiction.

Sustained Attention: Another aspect of our research is studying the role of the neuronal nicotinic and other neuronal systems in sustained attention using a rodent model. We have shown, nicotine (not smoking!) and nicotinic compounds improve attention in rats. A majority of people with schizophrenia smoke and they smoke heavily. Thus, it is important to understand the interaction of antipsychotic medications and nicotine in sustained attention. This has been another aspect of our research with interesting results. Presently, we are testing novel nicotinic compounds for improving pharmacologically-impaired sustained attention.

Teaching: I love to teach and interact with students. Since arriving at Duke in 1999, I have been team-teaching the popular alcohol course (Psych 206-01R; Alcohol: Brain, Society and Individual). I also enjoy mentoring undergrad students who are interested in science and enjoy working in the lab with cute little creatures!.

Community: I am a member of the Board of Directors of Triangle Residential Options for Substance Abusers (TROSA), a self-supported therapeutic community in Durham. I also give seminars and workshops on addiction around the country.


Edward Daniel Levin

Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Dr. Levin is Chief of the Neurobehavioral Research Lab in the Psychiatry Department of Duke University Medical Center. His primary academic appointment is as Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. He also has secondary appointments in the Department Pharmacology and Cancer Biology, the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences and the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke. His primary research effort is to understand basic neural interactions underlying cognitive function and addiction and to apply this knowledge to better understand cognitive dysfunction and addiction disorders and to develop novel therapeutic treatments.

The three main research components of his laboratory are focused on the themes of the basic neurobiology of cognition and addiction, neurobehavioral toxicology and the development of novel therapeutic treatments for cognitive dysfunction and substance abuse. Currently, our principal research focus concerns nicotine. We have documented the basic effects of nicotine on learning memory and attention as well as nicotine self-administration. We are continuing with more mechanistic studies in rat models using selective lesions, local infusions and neurotransmitter interaction studies. We have found that nicotine improves memory performance not only in normal rats, but also in rats with lesions of hippocampal and basal forebrain connections. We are concentrating on alpha7 and alpha4beta2 nicotinic receptor subtypes in the hippocampus, amygdala , thalamus and frontal cortex and how they interact with dopamine D1 and D2 and glutamate NMDA systems with regard to memory and addiction. I am also conducting studies on human cognitive behavior. We have current studies to assess nicotine effects on attention, memory and mental processing speed in schizophrenia, Alzheimer's Disease and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. In the area of neurobehavioral toxicology, I have continuing projects to characterize the adverse effects of prenatal and adolescent nicotine exposure. Our primary project in neurobehavioral toxicology focuses on the cognitive deficits caused by the marine toxins. The basic and applied aims of our research complement each other nicely. The findings concerning neural mechanisms underlying cognitive function help direct the behavioral toxicology and therapeutic development studies, while the applied studies provide important functional information concerning the importance of the basic mechanisms under investigation.

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