Mecamylamine reduces some EEG effects of nicotine chewing gum in humans

Wallace B. Pickworth, Ronald I. Herning, Jack E. Henningfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Spontaneous EEG was recorded in nine cigarette who has been abstinent from tobacco for 12 hr. Subjects were treated with a capsule containing either centrally acting blocker, mecamylamine (10 mg), or placebo. At each of three 60-min intervals after the capsule was ingested, the subjects chewed two pieces of gum containing a total of 0,4 or 8 mg of nicotine. Nicotine and mecamylamine dose combinations were randomized across subjects. Two three-minute periods of spontaneous EEG were recorded before the capsule and before and after gum chewing from bipolar electrode montages at the following positions: CzT5, CzT6, CzT7 and CzT8. During the period the subjects relaxed with eyes closed, in the other period they performed a math task with eyes open. When the drugs were given individually, mecamylamine decreased beta power and nicotine gum (4 and 8 mg) increased alpha frequency. Mecamylamine pretreatment prevented the increase in alpha frequency caused by the 4 mg gum dose but not the 8 mg dose. Alpha power was increased by the 8 mg gum dose and that increase was prevented by mecamylamine. Self-reported ratings of the "strength" of the gum were significantly diminished by mecamylamine pretreatment. The data are consistent with the results of earlier studies which indicate that the effects of tobacco administration and withdrawal are mediated by central actions of nicotine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-153
Number of pages5
JournalPharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes


  • Cigarette smoking
  • Drug dependence
  • Drug interaction
  • Electroencephalogram
  • Human subjects
  • Mecamylamine
  • Nicotine
  • Nicotine gum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Pharmacology


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