Psychiatric Disorders as Vulnerability Factors for Nicotine Addiction: What Have We Learned from Animal Models?

Part of the Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences book series (CTBN, volume 24)


Epidemiological studies indicate a high prevalence of tobacco smoking in subjects with psychiatric disorders. Notably, there is a high prevalence of smoking among those with dependence to other substances, schizophrenia, mood, or anxiety disorders. It has been difficult to understand how these phenomena interact with clinical populations as it is unclear what preceded what in most of the studies. These comorbidities may be best understood by using experimental approaches in well-controlled conditions. Notably, animal models represent advantageous approaches as the parameters under study can be controlled perfectly. This review will focus on evidence collected so far exploring how behavioral effects of nicotine are modified in animal models of psychiatric conditions. Notably, we will focus on behavioral responses induced by nicotine that are relevant for its addictive potential. Despite the clinical relevance and frequency of the comorbidity between psychiatric issues and tobacco smoking, very few studies have been done to explore this issue in animals. The available data suggest that the behavioral and reinforcing effects of nicotine are enhanced in animal models of these comorbidities, although much more experimental work would be required to provide certainty in this domain.


Nicotine Schizophrenia Mood disorders Addiction Anxiety 



Funding Dr. Le Foll’s research is supported by CAMH, the Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute, CIHR and the National Institute on Drug Abuse at the National Institutes of Health (1R21DA033515-01).


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Translational Addiction Research LaboratoryCentre for Addiction and Mental HealthTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Ambulatory Care and Structured Treatment ProgramCentre for Addiction and Mental HealthTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Departments of Family and Community Medicine, Pharmacology, PsychiatryInstitute of Medical Sciences, University of TorontoTorontoCanada
  4. 4.Lunenfeld Tanenbaum Research InstituteMount Sinai HospitalTorontoCanada
  5. 5.Centre for Addiction and Mental HealthTorontoCanada

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