Main content area

Sex differences in nicotine intravenous self-administration: A meta-analytic review

Flores, Rodolfo J., Uribe, Kevin P., Swalve, Natashia, O'Dell, Laura E.
Physiology & behavior 2019 v.203 pp. 42-50
females, gender differences, intravenous injection, males, meta-analysis, nicotine, rats, tobacco use, women
This report reflects a meta-analysis that systematically reviewed the literature on intravenous self-administration (IVSA) of nicotine in female and male rats. The goal was to determine if sex differences in nicotine IVSA exist, estimate the magnitude of the effect, and identify potential moderators of the relationship between sex differences and nicotine consumption.Extensive search procedures identified 20 studies that met the inclusion criteria of employing both female and male rats in nicotine IVSA procedures. The meta-analysis was conducted on effect size values that were calculated from mean total intake or nicotine deliveries using the Hedges' unbiased gu statistic.A random effects analysis revealed that overall females self-administered more nicotine than males (weighted gu=0.18, 95% CI [0.003, 0.34]). Subsequent moderator variable analyses revealed that certain procedural conditions influenced the magnitude of sex differences in nicotine IVSA. Specifically, higher reinforcement requirements (>FR1) and extended-access sessions (23h) were associated with greater nicotine IVSA in females versus males. Females also displayed higher nicotine intake than males when the experiment included a light cue that signaled nicotine delivery. Sex differences were not influenced by the diurnal phase of testing, dose of nicotine, or prior operant training.Overall, the results revealed that female rats display higher levels of nicotine IVSA than males, suggesting that the strong reinforcing effects of nicotine promote tobacco use in women.