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. 2008 Apr 30;49(2):175-88.
doi: 10.3349/ymj.2008.49.2.175.

The Role of NMDA Receptor Antagonists in Nicotine Tolerance, Sensitization, and Physical Dependence: A Preclinical Review

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The Role of NMDA Receptor Antagonists in Nicotine Tolerance, Sensitization, and Physical Dependence: A Preclinical Review

Raka Jain et al. Yonsei Med J. .
Free PMC article


Nicotine, the primary psychoactive component of tobacco products, produces diverse neurophysiological, motivational, and behavioral effects through several brain regions and neurochemical pathways. Various neurotransmitter systems have been explored to understand the mechanisms behind nicotine tolerance, dependence, and withdrawal. Recent evidence suggests that glutamate neurotransmission has an important role in this phenomenon. The aim of the present review is to discuss preclinical findings concerning the role of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor neurotransmission in mediating the behavioral effects of nicotine, tolerance, sensitization, dependence, and withdrawal. Based on preclinical findings, it is hypothesized that NMDA receptors mediate the common adaptive processes that are involved in the development, maintenance, and expression of nicotine addiction. Modulation of glutamatergic neurotransmission with NMDA receptor antagonists may prove to be useful in alleviating the symptoms of nicotine abstinence and facilitate tobacco-smoking cessation.

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