Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Gilbert, David

Second Advisor

Habib, Reza


A growing body of research is targeted towards characterizing and explaining nicotine’s complex interactions with the ApoE E4 allele on brain responses underlying cognitive processes. However, when and how the ε4 allele modulates neuroelectric brain responses in the presence of nicotine versus nicotine abstinence in nicotine-dependent smokers is not well characterized. Being able to understand this modulation is potentially quite important given that recent research implies that, relative to non-ε4 carriers, young adult carriers of the ε4 allele exhibit greater cognitive benefits from the use of nicotine. In the present study, electroencephalography (EEG) and the oddball-related P3b event-related potential (ERP) were used to better characterize the potential moderating effects of ApoE on P3b ERP amplitude changes associated with overnight nicotine deprivation in dependent smokers. Results showed a significant interaction between ApoE genotype and nicotine use, as ε4 carriers, relative to noncarriers, demonstrated significantly greater decreases following overnight deprivation, relative to prequit baseline levels. Additionally, there was a main of effect of P3b ERP amplitude to target stimuli being greater in ε4 allele carriers than in noncarriers during nicotine use, but no main effect of APOE genotype during overnight nicotine deprivation. These results are consistent with findings that the ApoE genotype moderates the effects of nicotine and alters neuroelectric brain responses associated with selective attention to infrequent target stimuli.




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