Vulnerability to both alcohol and nicotine abuse may be influenced by the same genetic factor, according to a recent study supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
In the study, two genetically distinct kinds of rat – one an innately heavy-drinking strain bred to prefer alcohol ("P" rats), the other strain bred to not prefer alcohol ("NP" rats) -- learned to give themselves nicotine injections by pressing a lever. Researchers found that P rats took more than twice as much nicotine as NP rats. Their findings were reported recently in the Journal of Neuroscience.
"Our findings suggest that the genetic factor underlying the high alcohol consumption seen in P rats may also contribute to their affinity for nicotine," said lead author A.D. Lê, Ph.D., a NIAAA-supported researcher at Torontos Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and University of Toronto.
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