Indexed on: 18 Nov '14Published on: 18 Nov '14Published in: Psychopharmacology
Thousands of adolescents start smoking daily but information on the effects of tobacco exposure on this age group is scarce. Moreover, the available animal models rely on the effects of nicotine, neglecting other neuroactive components of tobacco.We investigated the effects of exposure of adolescent mice to tobacco smoke generated from cigarettes containing either high or low levels of nicotine on novelty seeking and anxiety-like behaviors.From postnatal day (PN) 30 to 45, male and female Swiss mice were exposed to tobacco smoke (whole body exposure, 8 h/day, 7 days/week) generated from 2R1F (HighNic group: 1.74 mg nicotine/cigarette) or 4A1 (LowNic group: 0.14 mg nicotine/cigarette) research cigarettes, whereas control mice were exposed to ambient air. By the end (PN44-45), shortly (PN49-50), or long after (PN74-75) exposure, mice were tested on the elevated plus maze and on the hole board.While HighNic mice presented an increased number of head-dips (increased novelty-seeking) and decreased grooming (increased anxiety-like behavior) by the end of adolescent exposure, only the latter effect persisted shortly after its end. Distinctively, LowNic mice presented reduced head-dips both by the end and shortly after exposure as well as decreased grooming shortly and long after the end of exposure. Interestingly, only HighNic mice presented detectable cotinine (nicotine metabolite) serum levels (109.1 ± 24.0 ng/ml).Our results demonstrate that even adolescent exposure to tobacco smoke with very low nicotine content can have significant short- and long-term behavioral effects, supporting the hypothesis that adolescents can be particularly vulnerable to the effects of cigarette consumption.