Navigation Links
Nicotine activates more than just the brain's pleasure pathways
Date:1/22/2009

Durham, N.C. Duke University Medical System researchers have discovered there are differing taste pathways for nicotine, which could provide a new approach for future smoking-cessation products.

"We learned some of nicotine's secrets," said Albino Oliveira-Maia, M.D., Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow of the Duke Department of Neurobiology. "This is the first study to explore both the peripheral taste pathways activated by nicotine, and how these pathways are integrated in sensory areas of the brain." The peripheral nervous system refers to nerves that are outside of the brain and spinal cord.

Using genetic engineering and measurements of nervous system activity in mice, the researchers found that nicotine sends signals directly to the brain's sensory systems by several pathways, similar to the way taste is perceived.

These findings complement what is known about the effects of nicotine in the dopamine pathway. This is the classic pleasure pathway in the brain, much studied by addiction experts. "Our study in no way contradicts prior findings about nicotine and dopamine," Oliveira-Maia said. "Our findings add to what is known and suggest new approaches for further study."

The findings appeared in the PNAS Early Edition slated for January 19.

"One reason that our findings are interesting is because they relate to previous work that looked at humans with lesions in the insula region of the brain they had an easier time giving up cigarettes than most people," Oliveira-Maia said. "We found that a part of the insula, the gustatory cortex, has robust responses to nicotine and a capacity to integrate diverse peripheral information to create a unique sensory representation for nicotine."

One taste pathway the Duke researchers uncovered involves nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChR), which scientists previously proposed were taste receptors for nicotine. The researchers found a previously unknown link between these receptors and activity in the taste region of the insula.

They then found a second pathway, the peripheral Trpm5 protein pathway one that helps animals sense a bitter taste. Mice which had their Trpm5 pathway deleted were unresponsive to several different tastes, including bitterness, but they could still sense the presence of nicotine. "The mice preferred plain water to the nicotine solution, suggesting that there would be a second taste pathway in play, besides the one that had been knocked out," Oliveira-Maia said. The researchers then measured nerve activity in the chorda tympani (CT), which is a branch of the facial nerve that serves the taste buds in the front of the tongue and found that activity in CT nerve fibers increased when nicotine was put on the mice's tongues.

Looking ahead, Oliveira-Maia said that drugs thath block the nAChR receptors are now being used in the treatment of tobacco addiction, mainly because of their effects on the central nervous system, "but it is possible they could also modify the sensory effects of cigarette smoke."


'/>"/>

Contact: Mary Jane Gore
mary.gore@duke.edu
919-660-1309
Duke University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Researchers find link between nicotine addiction and autism
2. Study links nicotine with breast cancer growth and spread
3. New genetic research into nicotine addiction shows promise for personalized treatment
4. Nicotine may accelerate atherosclerosis, may be as dangerous as tar
5. Gene therapy protocol at UCSD activates immune system in patients with leukemia
6. Rice University psychologist finds womens brains recognize, encode smell of male sexual sweat
7. Old and young brains rely on different systems to remember emotional content
8. The satellite navigation in our brains
9. Big brains arose twice in higher primates
10. Brains R Us: Neuroscience and education town hall
11. From brains to behavior: Cold Spring Harbor Protocols features methods for neuroscience research
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/15/2016)... VANCOUVER, Canada and BADEN-BADEN, Germany ... Solutions, a leading global financial services provider, today announced an ... in passive behavioural biometrics, to join forces. The partnership will ... fraud mitigation strategies in compliance with local data protection regulation. ... In ...
(Date:12/15/2016)...  There is much more to innovative access systems ... Continental will demonstrate the intelligence of today,s solutions at ... Through the combination of the keyless entry and start ... the international technology company is opening up new possibilities ... "The integration of biometric elements brings our expertise ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... , Dec. 8, 2016  Singulex, Inc., the ... Counting technology, entered into a license and supply agreement ... science. The agreement provides Singulex access to Thermo Scientific ... Europe is used to diagnose systemic bacterial ... States to aid in assessing the risk ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/24/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... January 24, 2017 , ... ... waist circumference, and increased serum leptin levels had a positive association with increased ... The study published in the International Neurourology Journal involved 571 Korean men ...
(Date:1/24/2017)... ... January 23, 2017 , ... ... science through unique partnerships, seeks outstanding early career nominees for the 2017 New ... to meeting the needs of a world in which one in nine people ...
(Date:1/24/2017)... , Jan. 23, 2017   Instrument Business Outlook ... Minneapolis, MN ) the 2016 Company ... most authoritative newsletter tracking developments in the analytical ... "Bio-Techne consistently achieved outstanding technical, operational and ... Managing Editor of IBO. "In 2016, Bio-Techne capitalized ...
(Date:1/23/2017)... , Jan. 23, 2017   Enteris BioPharma, ... study agreement with Sanofi to leverage Enteris, ... platform, Peptelligenceā„¢, to develop an oral formulation of one ... Joel Tune , Chief Executive Officer and Executive Chairman ... further validation of the tremendous value our Peptelligence platform ...
Breaking Biology Technology: