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Keywords:

  • fixed ratio;
  • novelty;
  • progressive ratio;
  • selective MAOI

Abstract

Although nicotine is considered to be responsible for the addictive properties of tobacco, growing evidence underlines the importance of non-nicotine components in smoking reinforcement. It has been shown that tobacco smoke contains monoamine oxidase (MAO) A and B inhibitors and decreases MAO-A and MAO-B activity in smokers. Here, we investigated the effects of clorgyline hydrochloride (irreversible MAO-A inhibitor; 2 mg/kg/day), selegiline (irreversible MAO-B inhibitor; 4 mg/kg) and the beta-carboline norharmane hydrochloride (reversible MAO-B inhibitor; 5 mg/kg/day) treatments on nicotine self-administration (30 µg/kg/infusion, free base) in rats. Independent of the responsiveness to novelty and locomotor activity stimulation, only clorgyline hydrochloride treatment increased the intake of nicotine in a fixed-ratio schedule (FR5) of reinforcement. When a progressive-ratio schedule was implemented, both clorgyline hydrochloride and norharmane hydrochloride treatments potentiated the reinforcing effects of nicotine, whereas selegiline had no effect. Taken together, these results indicate that MAO-A inhibition interacts with nicotine to enhance its rewarding effects in rats and suggest that other compounds present in tobacco, such as beta-carboline, may also play an important role in sustaining smoking behavior in humans.