Impact of modulation of the α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor on nicotine reward in the mouse conditioned place preference test

  • Asti JacksonEmail author
  • Y. Alkhlaif
  • R. L. Papke
  • D. H. Brunzell
  • M. I. Damaj
Original Investigation



The α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) has been implicated as a target in modulating nicotine reward. However, the effect of pharmacological agents that have been shown to alter the channel properties of the α7 nAChR is not well understood in nicotine reward.


This study aimed to investigate the impact of α7 nAChR pharmacological modulation on nicotine conditioned place preference (CPP) in mice by using positive allosteric modulators (PAMs) and a silent agonist.


The effect of the orthosteric α7 nAChR full agonist PNU282987 (1.3 and 9 mg/kg, s.c.), Type I α7 PAM NS1738 (1 and 10 mg/kg; i.p.), the Type II α7 PAM PNU120596 (0.3, 1, and 3 mg/kg, i.p.), and the α7 silent agonist NS6740 (1 and 3 mg/kg, i.p) on nicotine CPP was measured in mice. Mice were conditioned with either saline or nicotine (0.5 mg/kg) for 3 days in the CPP paradigm.


The α7 full orthosteric agonist PNU282987 and the Type II α7 nAChR PAM PNU120596 reduced nicotine CPP, while the silent agonist NS6740 and Type I PAM NS1738 had no effect. The effects of PNU282987 and PNU120596 did not have an effect on morphine CPP.


Taken together, our results suggest that modulation of the α7 nAChR can play important roles in nicotine CPP in mice. In addition, the Type II α7 nAChR PAM PNU120596 attenuated nicotine reward suggesting that endogenous acetylcholine/choline tone is sufficient to reduce nicotine CPP. These findings highlight a beneficial effect of using α7 nAChR PAMs in nicotine reward.


Nicotine Mice Conditioned place preference Reward 



This study was supported by NIH grant [DA 005274 and DA032246] to MID. AJ was supported by T32 (DA007027) from NIH. RLP was supported by [GM57481].

Compliance with ethical standards

Experiments were performed during the light cycle and were approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee of Virginia Commonwealth University and followed the National Institutes of Health Guidelines for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Asti Jackson
    • 1
    Email author
  • Y. Alkhlaif
    • 2
  • R. L. Papke
    • 3
  • D. H. Brunzell
    • 2
  • M. I. Damaj
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryYale School of MedicineNew HavenUSA
  2. 2.Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, School of MedicineVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA
  3. 3.Department of Pharmacology and TherapeuticsUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

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