Nicotine intake constitutes a principal mechanism for tobacco addiction. Adequate treatment of smoking addiction remains problematic. Part of the problem with devising effective treatment is a poor understanding of the pharmacologic aspects of nicotine that underlie addiction. In addition to activating nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, nicotine also causes pronounced receptor desensitization. It is not currently known how much of each of nicotine's two actions at the receptor level - stimulation vs. desensitization, contribute to its particular behavioral effects, including reinforcement and addiction. Sazetidine-A is a novel compound that provides potent desensitization of a4B2 nicotinic receptors. Our preliminary studies have shown the promise of sazetidine-A. We have shown that Sazetidine-A significantly reduces nicotine self-administration both with acute and chronic administration. The proposed neurobehavioral studies will broaden the sazetidine-A characterization, determining the dose and time-effect function at which the maximum efficacy in reducing extended access nicotine self-administration is reached and the doses at which side effects are seen. Sex-differences in response will be determined in all phases of the study. Sazetidine-A efficacy in reducing relapse to nicotine self-administration with challenges of nicotine priming, conditioned cues and stress will be determined. Newly developed compounds in the Sazetidine class of nicotinic desensitizing agents will be screened for blockade of nicotine-induced sensitization of locomotor hyperactivity. Those compounds and doses effective in this screen will be tested for efficacy in significantly reducing nicotine self-administration and helping to prevent relapse. The intended beneficial outcome of this research is to determine the most effective way to use nicotinic desensitizing agents to reduce dependence on tobacco and facilitate cessation.

Public Health Relevance

Tobacco use and nicotine addiction are an immense public health problem, and the health costs associated with smoking are estimated as $75 billion per year in the U.S. Current treatments for nicotine addiction are not adequate. The goal of this NCDDDG is to develop smoking cessation drugs to help the nearly 50 million people in N. America and 1 billion people worldwide end their addiction to nicotine and stop smoking.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Research Program--Cooperative Agreements (U19)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZMH1-ERB-F)
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Georgetown University
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