Honors Program

Midway Honors

Date of Award


Thesis Professor(s)

Russell Brown

Thesis Professor Department



Nicotine use is very prevalent in the schizophrenic population, which is a 2.5 fold greater than the general population. In the present study, the drug quinpirole (dopamine D2/D3 agonist) or saline was given neonatally to 25 Sprague-Dawley male and female rats. Rats were randomly assigned to condition. Beginning postnatal day 33 animals were given twice daily administrations of nicotine (0.5 mg/kg free base). After the first of the daily injections they were placed in a locomotor arena every other day for behavioral testing. One day after behavioral testing, the dorsal striatum and nucleus accumbens were removed for brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) assay. BDNF is a neurotrophin that plays an important role in neuronal development, neuronal maintenance and plasticity, and synaptic activity. Results showed that nicotine produced locomotor sensitization but this was not enhanced by neonatal quinpirole, unlike past work. Regarding BDNF, there was a significant increase in the nucleus accumbens in rats treated with nicotine; neonatal quinpirole increased the BDNF response produced by nicotine. Nicotine produced an increase in dorsal striatum BDNF that was not affected by neonatal quinpirole treatment. Importantly, it appears that nicotine administrations, that occurred in two different contexts, may result in differential behavioral results relative to nicotine administrations given consistently in the same context.

Document Type

Honors Thesis - Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


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