Long-lasting Behavioural and Neuroendocrine Effects of Individual or Combined Adolescent Nicotine and Footshock Exposure.
Adolescent cigarette smoking has declined over the past decade, however nicotine vaping has gained popularity. Adolescence is a critical period for nicotine initiation; early initiation is associated with increased risk of dependence. A bidirectional relationship between stress and nicotine exists as perceived stress is a predictor for, and stress reduction is a commonly reported reason for nicotine use. Here, rats were exposed to high-dose nicotine, footshock, or the combination throughout adolescence and assessed in adulthood on nicotine consumption, anxiety-like behaviour, and stress responsivity. The combination of adolescent nicotine and stress increased nicotine consumption in adulthood without altering baseline anxiety-like behaviour or corticosterone levels. These results indicate that adults with a previous history of adolescent nicotine and stress may be at an increased risk of nicotine use. Given current trends in adolescent nicotine use, preventing a surge in future adult nicotine use and appropriate therapies to treat those individuals is crucial.