Effects of Chronic Inhalation of Electronic Cigarette Vapor Containing Nicotine on Neurotransmitters in the Frontal Cortex and Striatum of C57BL/6 Mice

Front Pharmacol. 2019 Aug 12:10:885. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2019.00885. eCollection 2019.


Electronic (E)-cigarettes are the latest form of nicotine delivery device and are highly popular in the general population. It is currently unknown whether vaping E-cigarettes (E-CIGs) leads to nicotine addiction. Alterations in the levels of the neurotransmitters in the mesocorticolimbic areas have been reported to mediate the initiation and development of nicotine addiction. Therefore, to determine whether E-CIGs activate the same addiction pathways as conventional cigarettes, we investigated for the effects of daily inhalation of nicotine (24 mg/ml)-containing E-CIG vapor for 6 months on the concentrations of these neurotransmitters in the frontal cortex (FC) and striatum (STR) of male C57BL/6 mice as compared to control group that was exposed to air only. We reported here that 6-month E-CIG vapor containing nicotine inhalation decreased dopamine concentration only in the STR. There were no changes in serotonin concentrations in the FC or STR. Chronic E-CIG exposure also increased glutamate concentration in the STR alone, while glutamine concentrations were increased in both the FC and STR. We found that E-CIG exposure also decreased GABA concentration only in the FC. These data suggest that chronic E-CIG use alters homeostasis of several neurotransmitters in the mesocorticolimbic areas, which may result in the development of nicotine dependence in E-CIG users.

Keywords: E-cigarettes; GABA; dopamine; glutamate; glutamine; serotonin.