Background: The bacterial nicotine-degrading enzyme NicA2 isolated from P. putida was studied to assess its potential use in the treatment of tobacco dependence. Results: Rats were pretreated with varying i.v. doses of NicA2, followed by i.v. administration of nicotine at 0.03 mg/kg. NicA2 had a rapid onset of action reducing blood and brain nicotine concentrations in a dose-related manner, with a rapid onset of action. A 5 mg/kg NicA2 dose reduced the nicotine concentration in blood by > 90% at 1 min after the nicotine dose, compared to controls. Brain nicotine concentrations were reduced by 55% at 1 min and 92% at 5 min post nicotine dose. To evaluate enzyme effects at a nicotine dosing rate equivalent to heavy smoking, rats pretreated with NicA2 at 10 mg/kg were administered 5 doses of nicotine 0.03 mg/kg i.v. over 40 min. Nicotine levels in blood were below the assay detection limit 3 min after either the first or fifth nicotine dose, and nicotine levels in brain were reduced by 82 and 84%, respectively, compared to controls. A 20 mg/kg NicA2 dose attenuated nicotine discrimination and produced extinction of nicotine self-administration (NSA) in most rats, or a compensatory increase in other rats, when administered prior to each daily NSA session. In rats showing compensation, increasing the NicA2 dose to 70 mg/kg resulted in extinction of NSA. An enzyme construct with a longer duration of action, via fusion with an albumin-binding domain, similarly reduced NSA in a 23 h nicotine access model at a dose of 70 mg/kg. Conclusions: These data extend knowledge of NicA2's effects on nicotine distribution to brain and its ability to attenuate addiction-relevant behaviors in rats and support its further investigation as a treatment for tobacco use disorder.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Author(s).