Bacterial symbionts exhibiting co-evolutionary patterns with insect hosts play a vital role in the nutrient synthesis, metabolism, development, reproduction, and immunity of insects. The brown planthopper (BPH) has a strong ability to adapt to various environmental stresses and can develop resistance to broad-spectrum insecticides. We aimed to investigate whether gut symbionts of BPH play a major role in the detoxification of insecticides and host fitness in unfavorable environments. Nicotine-treated rice plants were exposed to BPH (early stage) and the gut microbiome of the emerging female adults were analyzed using high throughput sequencing (HTS). Nicotine administration altered the diversity and community structure of BPH symbionts with significant increases in bacterial members such as Microbacteriaceae, Comamondaceae, Enterobacteriaceae, and these changes may be associated with host survival strategies in adverse environments. Furthermore, the in-vitro study showed that four intestinal bacterial strains of BPH (Enterobacter NLB1, Bacillus cereus NL1, Ralstonia NLG26, and Delftia NLG11) could degrade nicotine when grown in a nicotine-containing medium, with the highest degradation (71%) observed in Delftia NLG11. RT-qPCR and ELISA analysis revealed an increased expression level of CYP6AY1 and P450 enzyme activities in Delftia NLG11, respectively. CYP6AY1 increased by 20% under the action of Delftia and nicotine, while P450 enzyme activity increased by 18.1%. After CYP6AY1 interference, nicotine tolerance decreased, and the mortality rate reached 76.65% on the first day and 100% on the third day. Moreover, Delftia NLG11 helped axenic BPHs to increase their survival rate when fed nicotine in the liquid-diet sac (LDS) feeding system. Compared with axenic BPHs, the survival rate improved by 25.11% on day 2% and 6.67% on day 3. These results revealed an altered gut microbiota and a cooperative relationship between Delftia NLG11 and CYP6AY1 in nicotine-treated BPH, suggesting that insects can adapt to a hostile environment by interacting with their symbionts and providing a new idea for integrated pest management strategies.Copyright © 2023 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.