Current Drug Abuse Reviews

Joris C. Verster,
Utrecht University Utrecht Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences
Division of Pharmacology
The Netherlands


Enriched Environments for Rodents and their Interaction with Nicotine Administration

Author(s): Patricia Mesa-Gresa, Marta Ramos-Campos and Rosa Redolat

Affiliation: Department of Psychobiology, Faculty of Psychology, Universitat de Valencia, Blasco Ibanez, 21. 46010 Valencia, Spain.


An active lifestyle throughout the life cycle seems to delay cognitive aging and dementia and has also been evaluated as an intervention against addiction to cocaine and other drugs of abuse. In epidemiological studies with humans, it has proved difficult to separate the cognitive, social and physical components from other variables that influence lifestyle. Studies in animal models are useful for evaluating the impact of each of these factors and for uncovering the underlying mechanisms of the benefits of complex environments. Preclinical studies have employed the Environmental Enrichment paradigm (EE) which has been proposed as a preclinical model of positive life experiences in humans. EE has been associated with protective effects against addiction to some drugs, but few studies have been carried out in order to evaluate how its actions interact with nicotine addiction. In this context, the main aim of this review is to provide an analysis of the preclinical studies evaluating the interaction between exposure to enriched environments with the neurobiological and behavioral effects of nicotine administration. These studies will contribute to the development of future preventive and therapeutic applications of enriched environments and positive experiences for drug addiction in human beings, taking into account individual vulnerability. They also may shed light on new approaches to the treatment of nicotine addiction, as interventions based in physical exercise in interaction with other environmental variables.

Keywords: Addiction, cognitive activity, environmental enrichment, nicotine, mice, physical activity, rats, sensorial stimulation, social interaction.

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Article Details

Page: [191 - 200]
Pages: 10
DOI: 10.2174/187447370603140401224222