Researchers from the Peninsula Medical School and the University of Bristol, using data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children and the Exeter Family Study of Childhood Health, have identified a common genetic variant that explains why some women may find it more difficult to quit smoking during pregnancy.
Their paper, "A common genetic variant in 15q24 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor gene cluster (CHRNA5-CHRNA3-CHRNB4) is associated with a reduced ability of women to quit smoking in pregnancy", is published in Human Molecular Genetics.
Maternal smoking during pregnancy is associated with low birth weight and problems at birth. Statistically, women are more likely to quit smoking during pregnancy that at any other time in the lives, but some pregnant women continue to smoke despite a strong and direct public health message.
The study tested whether a genetic variant that is related to greater cigarette consumption was also responsible for a reduced likelihood of quitting smoking during pregnancy.
The research team studied 7,845 women of European descent from the South West of England. Using 2,474 women who smoked regularly immediately before they became pregnant, the association between the variant and smoking cessation and smoking quantity during pregnancy was analysed.
When asked about smoking in the first trimester of pregnancy, 28% of the women said they had given up. However, this figure was only 21% in the group of women with two copies of the smoking addiction gene, whereas in women with two copies of the non-addictive gene, 31% said they had quit.
Asked again in the third trimester, 47% of women with two copies of the non-addictive gene said they had stopped smoking, compared with only 34% of women with two copies of the smoking addiction gene.
Dr. Rachel Freathy from the Peninsula Medical School commented: "Pregnant women are under considerable health and social pressure to stop smoking, and quitting in such circumstances is influenced by a number of factors including the age of the expectant mother, their education and whether or not their partners smoke. However, we were keen to investigate whether the genetic variant that influences increased cigarette consumption also had a role to play as an extra hurdle to quitting smoking during pregnancy, and our study suggests that it does."
Dr. Freathy added: "However, we would not wish our findings to be used as an excuse to avoid giving up smoking during pregnancy. It is clear from our study that a considerable proportion of women did manage to quit smoking, despite inheriting two addiction copies of the gene. We stress the importance for all expectant mothers who smoke to make use of the resources available from their GP surgeries, local PCTs and pharmacists in their bid to quit smoking, for the benefit of their health and the health of their unborn children."
Professor Tim Frayling, a senior author on the paper, added "There are parallels between our results and those of genetic studies which have implicated appetite-regulatory pathways in obesity. Both quitting smoking and obesity are thought by many scientists, health care professionals and policy makers to be a matter of "self-control" and have much social stigma attached. The identification of common genetic variants may help a little to emphasize that physiology plays an important role in 'socially unacceptable' phenotypes."
Andrew Gould | EurekAlert!
NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts
18.07.2018 | New York Stem Cell Foundation
Pollen taxi for bacteria
18.07.2018 | Technische Universität München
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.
Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
18.07.2018 | Life Sciences
18.07.2018 | Materials Sciences
18.07.2018 | Health and Medicine