A new study in “Biological Psychiatry” reports that smoking-related deficits in brain dopamine, a chemical implicated in reward and addiction, return to normal three months after quitting. The normalization of dopamine systems suggests smoking-related deficits are a consequence of chronic smoking, rather than a risk factor. These findings raise the possibility that treatments might be developed that normalize the dopamine system in smokers.
According to first author Dr. Lena Rademacher, Postdoctoral fellow at the University of Lübeck, Germany, a major challenge in understanding substance-related disorders lies in uncovering why only some individuals become addicted.
Researchers think some people could possess a trait that predisposes them to addiction, and suspect that brain circuits involving dopamine may be involved. Drugs of abuse release dopamine, and addiction to nicotine is associated with abnormalities in the dopamine system. But researchers are uncertain if smoking induces those abnormalities or if they already exist and contribute to risk of nicotine addiction.
Senior author Dr. Ingo Vernaleken, Professor at RWTH Aachen University, Germany led a team of researchers examining dopamine function in chronic smokers before and after long-term cessation.
The researchers used a brain imaging technique called positron emission tomography to measure an index of the capacity for dopamine production in 30 men who were nicotine-dependent smokers and 15 nonsmokers. After performing an initial scan on all participants, 15 smokers who successfully quit were scanned again after three months of abstinence from smoking and nicotine replacement.
The initial scan revealed a 15–20% reduction in the capacity for dopamine production in smokers compared with nonsmokers. The researchers expected this impairment to persist even after quitting, which would suggest it could be a marker of vulnerability for nicotine addiction.
“Surprisingly, the alterations in dopamine synthesis capacity normalized through abstinence,” said Rademacher.
The role of dopamine in vulnerability toward nicotine addiction cannot be excluded, but the findings suggest that altered dopamine function of smokers is a consequence of nico-tine consumption rather than the cause.
Dr. John Krystal, Editor of “Biological Psychiatry”, noted the implications of these findings for developing better ways to help smokers trying to quit. “This study suggests that the first three months after one stops smoking may be a particularly vulnerable time for relapse, in part, because of persisting dopamine deficits. This observation raises the possibility that one might target these deficits with new treatments.”
The article is "Effects of Smoking Cessation on Presynaptic Dopamine Function of Addicted Male Smokers" by Lena Rademacher, Susanne Prinz, Oliver Winz, Karsten Hen-kel, Claudia A. Dietrich, Jörn Schmaljohann, Siamak Mohammadkhani Shali, Ina Schabram, Christian Stoppe, Paul Cumming, Ralf-Dieter Hilgers, Yoshitaka Kumakura, Mark Coburn, Felix M. Mottaghy, Gerhard Gründer, and Ingo Vernaleken (doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2015.11.009). It appears in Biological Psychiatry, volume 80, issue 3 (2016), published by Elsevier.
Journalists wishing to interview the authors may contact Lena Rademacher at Rademacher@snl.uni-luebeck.de.
Biological Psychiatry is the official journal of the Society of Biological Psychiatry, whose purpose is to promote excellence in scientific research and education in fields that investigate the nature, causes, mechanisms and treatments of disorders of thought, emotion, or behavior. Biological Psychiatry is one of the most selective and highly cited journals in the field of psychiatric neuroscience. It is ranked 5th out of 140 Psychiatry titles and 11th out of 256 Neurosciences titles in the Journal Citations Reports® published by Thomson Reuters. The 2015 Impact Factor score for Biological Psychiatry is 11.212. Media contact: Rhiannon Bugno, email@example.com
Rüdiger Labahn | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
‘Farming’ bacteria to boost growth in the oceans
24.10.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für marine Mikrobiologie
Calcium Induces Chronic Lung Infections
24.10.2016 | Universität Basel
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
24.10.2016 | Earth Sciences
24.10.2016 | Life Sciences
24.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy