Background: Caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine are 3 of the most widespread self-administered psychoactive substances, which are known to be extensively co-administered. However, little is known about the degree to which they may mutually potentiate each other's consumption.
Methods: In the current set of studies, we examined in rats the effect of caffeine administration on alcohol drinking and intravenous (i.v.) self-administration of nicotine. In male alcohol-preferring (P) rats, caffeine (5, 10, and 20 mg/kg) or the saline vehicle was administered acutely either by subcutaneous (S.C.) injection or orally (PO) by gavage. In a chronic study, the effect of PO caffeine (5 and 20 mg/kg) on alcohol intake over a 10-day period was tested. In another experiment, the effect of acute PO administration of caffeine (20 mg/kg) or saline on saccharin intake (0.2% solution) was determined in P rats. Effects of 20 mg/kg caffeine on motor activity were also determined in P rats. Finally, the effects of acute PO caffeine administration on nicotine self-administration in Sprague-Dawley rats were also determined.
Results: Both routes of administration of caffeine, S.C. and PO, caused a significant dose-related decrease in alcohol intake and preference during free access to alcohol and after 4-day deprivation of alcohol. However, the low dose of 5 mg/kg caffeine increased alcohol intake. Acute PO caffeine also reduced saccharin intake. Acute systemic administration of 20 mg/kg caffeine did not exert a significant effect on motor activity. In Sprague-Dawley rats trained to self-administer i.v. nicotine, acute PO administration of caffeine significantly increased self-administration of nicotine in a dose-related manner.
Conclusions: These results suggest that adenosine receptor systems may play a role in both alcohol and nicotine intake and deserve further study regarding these addictions.
Keywords: Addiction; Adenosine; Alcohol Drinking; Alcohol-Preferring Rats; Locomotor Activity; Saccharin; Self-Administration.
Copyright © 2013 by the Research Society on Alcoholism.