Document Type

Honors Project

First Advisor

Dr. Brian Kelley

Degree Award Date

Fall 2000


Acute Nicotine, Subchronic Nicotine, Adolescent C57BL/6J Mice, Adult C57BL/6J Mice


Animal Studies | Biological Psychology | Psychology


This study is designed to investigate if there is a qualitative difference between adolescent and adult mice in response to nicotine. This study will be accomplished by examining both groups' response to the motor activating and depressing effects of nicotine as well as nicotine's effects on the development of conditioned tolerance. The motor-activating and/or depressing effects of nicotine will be compared in both adolescents and adult C57 mice (nicotine [.125, . 5 , 1.0, 2.0, and 4.0 mg/kg]). On alternate days the mice receive a control (saline) injection to serve as a control. Increases in activity are thought to be related to a drug's euphoric effects, while decreases are thought to be related to its aversive effects. This study will shed some light on the mechanisms relevant to adolescence abuse, particular in terms of the "gateway phenomenon."

The relevance of this experiment is to exemplify the difference of nicotine effects in adolescent age mice in comparison to the adult age group. This is very analogous to the statistics found on nicotine use in adult vs. adolescent humans. Recent statistics show an estimated 60 million adults habitually use nicotine versus the 5 . 5 million youth users. Studies have shown that the onset of tobacco use begins primarily during adolescence. The window of adolescence is a very vulnerable and sensitive developmental period marked by an abundance of changes - physically, cognitively, psychologically, and neurochemically. There is a huge discrepancy in research on the aversive effects of nicotine in regards to adolescents versus adult users.