Rationale: Central nicotinic receptors have been reported to be involved in the discriminative stimulus (DS) effects of nicotine. Objectives: The purpose of the present study was to investigate the role of the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and the medial habenular nucleus (mHb) in the DS effects of nicotine. Methods: Substitution tests with nicotine administered into mPFC and mHb were conducted in rats trained to discriminate nicotine (0.5 mg/kg, SC) from saline in a two-lever, food reinforced, operant task. Results: Nicotine (40 µg) administered into mPFC substituted for nicotine (0.5 mg/kg, SC), whereas nicotine administered into mHb did not. Conclusions: Together with our previous study indicating that the nucleus accumbens and the ventral tegmental area are partially involved in the DS effects of nicotine, the present study suggests that mPFC is primarily involved in the DS effects of nicotine.
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