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Scripps Florida scientists awarded $8.4 million grant to develop new anti-smoking treatments
Date:5/14/2012

ue) that, when blocked, significantly decreases the desire for nicotine in animal models.

The neuropeptide, known as hypocretin-1 or orexin A, initiates a key signaling cascade that maintains tobacco addiction in human smokers. In a 2008 study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Kenny and colleagues showed that blocking hypocretin-1 receptors not only decreased nicotine use in animal models, but also abolished the stimulatory effects of nicotine on brain reward circuitries. These results demonstrated that hypocretin-1 plays a major role in driving the desire for more nicotine.

These findings also highlighted the importance of hypocretin-1 receptors in a region of the brain called the insula, a walnut size part of the frontal lobe. While all mammals have insula regions that sense the body's internal physiological state and direct responses to maintain homeostasis, this region has also been implicated in cravings. In one study, it was reported that smokers who sustained damage to the insula lost the desire to smoke, an insight that revealed the insula as key for sustaining the tobacco habit in smokers.


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Contact: Mika Ono
mikaono@scripps.edu
858-784-2052
Scripps Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert  

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Scripps Florida scientists awarded $8.4 million grant to develop new anti-smoking treatments
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