Activation of α4β2/α6b2 Nicotinic receptors alleviates anxiety during Nicotine withdrawal without upregulating Nicotinic receptors

Nicole L. Yohn, Jill R. Turner, Julie A. Blendy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (SciVal)


Although nicotine mediates its effects through several nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) subtypes, it remains to be determined which nAChR subtypes directly mediate heightened anxiety during withdrawal. Relative success in abstinence has been found with the nAChR partial agonist varenicline (Chantix; Pfizer, Groton, CT ); however, treatment with this drug fails to alleviate anxiety in individuals during nicotine withdrawal. Therefore, it is hypothesized that success can be found by the repurposing of other nAChR partial agonists for cessation therapies that target anxiety. It is noteworthy that the selective partial agonists for a4b2, ABT-089 [2-methyl-3-[2(S)- pyrrolidinylmethoxy]pyridine], and a7, ABT-107 [5-(6-[(3R)-1- azabicyclo[2.2.2]oct-3-yloxy] pyridazin-3-yl)-1H-indole] (AbbVie, North Chicago, IL), have not been evaluated as possible therapeutics for nicotine cessation. Therefore, we examined the effect of ABT-089 and ABT-107 on anxiety during withdrawal from nicotine in the novelty-induced hypophagia (NIH) paradigm. We found that short-term administration of ABT-089 and ABT-107 alleviate anxiety-like behavior during withdrawal from nicotine while long-term administration of ABT-089 but not ABT-107 reduces anxiety-like behavior during withdrawal. After behavioral testing, brains were harvested and b2-containing nAChRs were measured using [3H]epibaditine. ABT-089 and ABT-107 do not upregulate nAChRs, which is in contrast to the upregulation of nAChRs observed after nicotine. Furthermore, ABT-089 is anxiogenic in nicotine naive animals, suggesting that the effects on anxiety are specifically related to the nicotinedependent state. Together, these studies identify additional nAChR partial agonists that may aid in the rational development of smoking cessation aids.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)348-354
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology


Dive into the research topics of 'Activation of α4β2/α6b2 Nicotinic receptors alleviates anxiety during Nicotine withdrawal without upregulating Nicotinic receptors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this