Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Smoking produces changes in human brain like those in animals using illicit drugs

22.02.2007
New research shows for the first time that smoking produces long-lasting biochemical changes in the human brain similar to those changes previously seen in the brains of animals that used cocaine, heroin, and other illicit drugs.

This new research supports the idea that long-term smoking alters the brain in ways that contribute to addiction, and provides insight into how addiction works, says lead author Bruce Hope, PhD, of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The study, supported by NIDA, is published in the February 21 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.

"The data show that there are long lasting chemical changes in the brains of humans," says Michael Kuhar, PhD, of Emory University. "The chemical changes alone suggest a physiological basis for nicotine addiction." Kuhar was not involved in this study.

Hope and his colleagues studied samples of human brain tissue from the nucleus accumbens and the ventral midbrain, brain regions that play a part in controlling addiction-related behaviors. Eight samples were taken from each of three groups: long-term smokers until the time of death, previous long-term smokers, and nonsmokers. All died of causes not related to smoking.

The researchers analyzed levels of two specific enzymes found inside neurons that translate chemical signals outside the neuron, such as the neurotransmitter dopamine, into chemical signals and changes inside the neuron. They found elevated levels of these enzymes in the smokers, but, more interesting, levels remained high, as compared to nonsmokers, in the ventral midbrains of former smokers. This suggests that the changes persist long after smoking has ceased and could contribute to drug relapse, Hope says.

"The parallel between the new study and the animal studies is important because a causal role has been shown in animal studies between increased levels of these neuronal signaling enzymes in these brain regions and addiction-related behaviors. This strongly suggests that the similar changes observed in smokers and former smokers contributed to their addiction," he adds.

Hope points out that although previous investigations on human smokers revealed similar results, "these biochemical changes have not yet been observed to play causal roles in addiction-related behaviors, or were altered in brain regions where their effects on behavior are unknown."

Sara Harris | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.sfn.org

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Study suggests possible new target for treating and preventing Alzheimer's
02.12.2016 | Oregon Health & Science University

nachricht The first analysis of Ewing's sarcoma methyloma opens doors to new treatments
01.12.2016 | IDIBELL-Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>