• Drug-associated cues;
  • GlyT1-inhibitors;
  • nicotine-seeking behavior


Pharmacological stimulation of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDAr) could enhance the outcome of cue-exposure therapy for smoking cessation. NMDAr stimulation can be achieved by increasing pharmacologically the synaptic levels of glycine, a necessary co-agonist. Here, we evaluate the effects of SSR504734, a selective inhibitor of glycine type I transporter (GlyT1) in an extinction-reinstatement procedure inducing robust and lasting nicotine-seeking behavior in rats. Male Wistar rats were trained to associate discriminative stimuli (SDs) with the availability of nicotine (0.03 mg/kg/65 μL/2 second/infusion) or sucrose (45-mg pellet) versus non-reward in two-lever operant cages. Reinforced response was followed by cue signaling 20-second time-out (CSs). Once the training criterion was met, rats underwent extinction of lever presses, in the absence of reinforcers, SDs and CSs. Re-exposure to nicotine or sucrose SD+/CS+, but not non-reward SD/CS, revived responding at the previously reinforced lever. Acute pre-treatment with SSR504734 (10 mg/kg i.p.) reduced nicotine-seeking but not sucrose-seeking behavior without influencing rats' locomotor activity. Sub-chronic treatment (10 mg/kg i.p. for 5 days) during daily exposure to SD+/CS+ reduced nicotine-seeking; however, this effect was transient, with return to SD+/CS+ responding at 72 hours. Full recovery to SD+/CS+ responding was observed after 1 month suggesting that SSR504734 sub-acute treatment did not engage the long-term plasticity mechanisms probably involved in nicotine-seeking. In conclusion, GlyT1-inhibitors might offer a therapeutic opportunity for acute cue-controlled nicotine-seeking, but the lack of persistent effects of the sub-chronic treatment associated with nicotine cues exposure suggests that short-term administration of GlyT1-inhibitor SSR504734 is not sufficient to promote extinction of nicotine-cue conditioned responding.