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  1. Tobacco Science & Research

Menthol: An Accomplice of Nicotine in Tobacco Smoking

Principal Investigator: Xiu Liu

Funding Mechanism: National Institutes of Health- Grant

ID Number: 1R01DA037277-01

Award Date: 6/12/2014

Institution: University of Mississippi Medical Center 


A fundamental question regarding menthol, a tobacco product additive that causes a cooling sensation, is whether it directly enhances the reinforcing effects of nicotine and thus promotes tobacco addiction. The goal of this project is to conduct behavioral tests in rats to examine whether menthol promotes the initiation, maintenance/progression, and relapse to nicotine self-administration without the involvement of its sensory effects. Specific aims are: (1) to examine whether menthol promotes the initiation of nicotine self-administration; (2) to examine whether menthol facilitates the transition to greater nicotine self-administration; (3) to examine whether menthol facilitates nicotine-seeking behavior; and (4) to examine interactions between menthol and nicotine in the release of dopamine in the nucleus accumbens, a region of the brain’s reward circuit. Project results may inform regulatory policies related to the use of menthol in tobacco products.


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