Modeling nicotine addiction in rats

Methods Mol Biol. 2012:829:243-56. doi: 10.1007/978-1-61779-458-2_15.


Among the human population, 15% of drug users develop a pathological drug addiction. This figure increases substantially with nicotine, whereby more than 30% of those who try smoking develop a nicotine addiction. Drug addiction is characterized by compulsive drug-seeking and drug-taking behaviors (craving), and loss of control over intake despite impairment in health, social, and occupational functions. This behavior can be accurately modeled in the rat using an intravenous self-administration (IVSA) paradigm. Initial attempts at establishing nicotine self-administration had been problematic, yet in recent times increasingly reliable models of nicotine self-administration have been developed. The present article reviews different characteristics of the nicotine IVSA model that has been developed to examine nicotine reinforcing and motivational properties in rats.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Conditioning, Operant
  • Models, Animal
  • Nicotine / administration & dosage*
  • Nicotine / adverse effects*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Self Administration
  • Smoking
  • Substance-Related Disorders*
  • Tobacco Use Disorder*


  • Nicotine