Introduction: Cigarette smoking alters a variety of endocrine systems including thyroid hormones. Altered thyroid hormone signaling may lead to a subclinical or overt hypothyroid condition that could contribute to nicotine withdrawal-related symptoms, such as cognitive deficits. Thus, normalizing thyroid hormone levels may represent a novel therapeutic target for ameliorating nicotine withdrawal-associated cognitive deficits. Methods: The current studies conducted an analysis of serum thyroid hormone levels after chronic and withdrawal from chronic nicotine treatment in C57BL/6J mice using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The present studies also evaluated the effect of synthetic thyroid hormone (levothyroxine) on contextual and cued memory. Results: The current studies found that nicotine withdrawal reduces secreted thyroid hormone levels by 9% in C57BL/6J mice. Further, supplemental thyroid hormone not only enhanced memory in naïve animals, but also ameliorated deficits in hippocampus-dependent learning associated with nicotine withdrawal. Conclusions: These results suggest that smokers attempting to quit should be monitored closely for changes in thyroid function. If successfully treated, normalization of thyroid hormone levels may ameliorate some deficits associated with nicotine withdrawal and this may lead to higher rates of successful abstinence.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health