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Yale TCORS: Effects of Flavors on Nicotine Choice and Central Reward Mechanisms

Principal Investigator: Sven-Eric Jordt and Marina Picciotto

Funding Mechanism: National Institutes of Health- TCORS Grant

ID number: 1P50DA036151-01

Award Date: 9/30/2013

Institution: Yale University

In addition to nicotine, dissolvable tobacco products contain high amounts of sweeteners, flavors, menthol and other cooling agents. Nicotine, sweeteners, flavors and menthol in tobacco products have a complex effect on peripheral sensory systems (mouth, nose and throat) as well as on central reward circuits in the mesolimbic dopamine system, thereby signaling brain reward pathways that influence use behaviors and addiction. This project will study the effects of flavors on nicotine choice and dopaminergic/central reward mechanisms in mice and rat models. Specific aims are: (1) to determine whether flavor constituents in dissolvable tobacco products alter oral nicotine intake; and (2) to examine whether flavor constituents of dissolvable tobacco products increase nicotine reinforcement and nicotine-taking by enhancing phasic dopamine release. Together, these aims will test the hypotheses that flavorings such as sweeteners and menthol affect initiation and the addictive properties of dissolvable tobacco products.

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