Nicotinic acetylcholine α4β2 receptor regulates the motivational effect of intracranial self stimulation behavior in the runway method

Hidenori Sagara, Yoshihisa Kitamura, Tetsuji Yae, Kazuhiko Shibata, Katsuya Suemaru, Toshiaki Sendo, Hiroaki Araki, Yutaka Gomita

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13 Citations (Scopus)


Recently, it was demonstrated that the priming stimulation effect (PSE) of intracranial self-stimulation (ICSS) with the runway method can be used as a model system to study the motivation that contributes to specific behaviors. It was postulated that these behaviors could be used to compare the effects of various drugs on the mechanism of motivation. In the present study, the influences of nicotine, methyllycaconitine (α7 nicotine-receptor antagonist), and dihydro-β-erythroidine (α4β2 nicotine-receptor antagonist) on motivation were examined using the runway method for ICSS. Electrodes were implanted into the medial forebrain bundle of Wistar rats. The rats ran to the goal lever to get the reward (50 - 200 μA, 0.2 ms, 60 Hz) and pretrial electric stimulation (priming stimulation) in the medial forebrain bundle was performed. The experiment measured the running time from the start box until the rat pressed the goal lever for the reward stimulation. Under these reward and priming stimulation conditions, nicotine (0.2 mg/kg) induced a significant increase in running speed. The nicotine receptor antagonist α4β2 rather than α7 showed a dose-dependent antagonistic action on the effect of nicotine on running speed. These results demonstrate that nicotine enhances the running speed towards the goal lever via α4β2 nicotinic receptors and suggest that α4β2 nicotinic receptors influence the brain mechanism of motivation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)455-461
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Pharmacological Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2008



  • Dihydro-β-erythroidine
  • Intracranial self-stimulation
  • Methyllycaconitine
  • Motivation
  • Nicotine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Molecular Medicine

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