The George lab at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) has been awarded a $521,000 grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health to evaluate the effect of nicotine vapor exposure on the vulnerability to develop nicotine dependence.
Olivier George, a TSRI assistant professor, will be the primary principal investigator for the 2-year study.
“We’ve already identified that passive exposure to nicotine vapor at high levels facilitates aquisition of nicotine self-administration in preclinical models" George said. "Now the key is to find the minimum level of exposure that produces brain and behavioral changes that may facilitate the acquisition of and relapse to nicotine dependence.”
The electronic cigarette industry generated over $1 billion in revenue in the United States last year and is predicted to pass traditional cigarette sales by 2047. The danger of electronic cigarette is that they are marketed as safe to use, but virtually no research has been conducted on the consequences of nicotine vapor exposure on the brain and development of nicotine dependence.
The effects of nicotine vapor exposure from second-hand smoke and electronic cigarette use on the brain and development of nicotine dependence are largely unknown. The overall hypothesis of this proposal is that chronic exposure to nicotine, even at a low concentration, similar to second-hand smoking and electronic cigarette use, will affect the brains and behaviors related to nicotine dependence, and increase the vulnerability to nicotine dependence. The results of these studies will provide (i) the lowest dose of nicotine vapor that increases anxiety-like behavior and hyperalgesia, (ii) the lowest dose of nicotine that increases escalation of nicotine intake and relapse to nicotine dependence, and (iii) important information for nicotine dependence prevention efforts and policymakers.
The number of the grant is 1R21DA036691-01.