Abstract

The neurobiology of nicotine addiction is reviewed within the context of neurobiological and behavioral theories postulated for other drugs of abuse. The roles of various neurotransmitter systems, including acetylcholine, dopamine, serotonin, glutamate, gamma-aminobutyric acid, and opioid peptides in acute nicotine reinforcement and withdrawal from chronic administration are examined followed by a discussion of potential neuroadaptations within these neurochemical systems that may lead to the development of nicotine dependence. The link between nicotine administration, depression and schizophrenia are also discussed. Finally, a theoretical model of the neurobiological mechanisms underlying acute nicotine withdrawal and protracted abstinence involves alterations within dopaminergic, serotonergic, and stress systems that are hypothesized to contribute to the negative affective state associated with nicotine abstinence.

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