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Genes May Play Role in Quitting Smoking
Date:6/3/2008

People respond to different treatments based on their genetic make-up, study says

TUESDAY, June 3 (HealthDay News) -- Your ability to kick the smoking habit may have a lot to do with your genetic make-up, a new study finds.

Researchers have found gene patterns that influence a smoker's response to specific smoking-cessation treatments. The researchers identified several genetic variations that appear to indicate the likelihood of success or failure with nicotine replacement therapy and the smoking-cessation drug bupropion (Zyban).

"There is a significant chunk of evidence that the ability to quit smoking has inheritable components," said lead researcher Dr. George R. Uhl, chief of the molecular neurobiology research branch at the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse.

"There is no single gene that has variants related to smoking," Uhl said. "There is no gene that even has a large effect. But nevertheless, we have identified a number of different genes that are all contributors to the individual differences in the ability to quit smoking."

The findings were published in the June issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

For the study, Uhl's team analyzed the DNA of 550 smokers who were part of smoking-cessation studies. These people had been randomly assigned to receive either nicotine replacement therapy; the antidepressant Zyban, which has been found to help people quit smoking; or a placebo.

The researchers found 41 gene variants linked to smokers who successfully quit using nicotine replacement therapy, and 26 genes that were specific to successful quitting with Zyban.

Uhl said these genetic variants alone aren't enough to predict successful treatment to quit smoking. And, the specific role these genes play still isn't clear, he said.

But, the findings do explain why different people respond to different smoking-cessation treatments, Uhl said.


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