The effects of chronic nicotine on meal patterns, food intake, metabolism and body weight of male rats. Academic Article uri icon


  • It is unclear what contribution food intake and metabolism have in causing weight loss after administering a dose of nicotine equivalent to smoking one to three packs of cigarettes per day because previous studies have been of a very short duration. To address this question, male Sprague Dawley rats were housed in computerized food intake modules and fed 45 mg pellets: Group 1 [nicotine injected with 1.4 mg/kg/day (free base), fed ad libitum]; and Group 2 [saline injected and pair-fed by computer with Group 2]; and Group 3 [saline injected (i.p.), fed ad libitum]. The rats received 4 equally spaced injections over the dark phase. Treatment consisted of: Phase 1 (nicotine or saline for 14 days), Phase 2 (all rats saline for 8 days and Phase 3 (pair-fed group "unyoked" for 6 days)). Nicotine inhibited food intake over the first 6 days. On termination of nicotine, there was no compensatory hyperphagia in either Groups 1 or 2; and their body weight was reduced starting on day 5 until day 28. In another study, rats were housed in an indirect calorimetry system. Saline or nicotine was injected for 14 days, as noted above; then all rats were injected with saline for 4 days and then no injections for 10 days to follow changes in body weight. Energy expenditure (Kcal/Kg(0.75)) was measured for 18 days. Nicotine significantly reduced food intake on 7 of 14 days of nicotine injections. The body weight of the nicotine injected rats was significantly reduced starting on day 3 until day 25. There were no differences in energy expenditures of the groups, which suggested that a decrease in food intake and not an increase in metabolism was the reason the rats lost weight after administering nicotine.

published proceedings

  • Pharmacol Biochem Behav

author list (cited authors)

  • Bellinger, L. L., Wellman, P. J., Harris, R., Kelso, E. W., & Kramer, P. R.

citation count

  • 26

complete list of authors

  • Bellinger, LL||Wellman, PJ||Harris, RBS||Kelso, EW||Kramer, PR

publication date

  • January 2010