Date Thesis Awarded

4-2014

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Science (BS)

Department

Neuroscience

Advisor

Josh Burk

Committee Member

Debbie Noonan

Committee Member

Randolph Coleman

Abstract

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Impulsivity has been implicated in many different neuropsychiatric disorders, such as substance use disorders, Alzheimer’s Disease, and schizophrenia. In previous research, the effects of nicotine on attention and delay discounting have been well established. However, delay discounting represents just one aspect of impulsivity, and the other aspects have not been as well studied. The probability-discounting task is frequently used to measure the risky behavior aspect of impulsivity in animal models. We have found that exposure to nicotine, abstinence, and re-exposure to nicotine results in riskier behavior in rats. To test if this behavior is mediated by the α4β2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, we then administered an α4β2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor antagonist, dihydro-β-ethyroidine, and found that the observed behavior on the probability-discounting task is not mediated by the α4β2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors.

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