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Study suggests nicotine addiction might be controlled by influencing brain mechanisms
Date:12/8/2007

e supply of GABA levels high has the potential to reduce the pleasurable effects of smoking, in terms of duration and intensity.

While GABA is probably not the root of nicotine addiction, it is part of a complex network of actors that are involved in addiction, Mason says.

Another study presented at the ACNP annual meeting which explored the role of GABA, genetics and environmental factors in smoking found that tobacco addiction is at least 50% determined by genetics. For this reason, researchers may be able to identify individuals who are vulnerable to nicotine dependence, and then implement prevention strategies accordingly.

For this study, Ming Li, Ph.D., Professor of Genetics in Psychiatry and Neurosciences at the University of Virginia recruited more than 2000 participants representing more than 600 families of smokers. They examined different regions on various chromosomes that showed linkage to nicotine addiction. Then they searched for susceptibility genes within these regions that appear to be associated with addiction. Some of these are the GABA-B receptor subunit 2 (GABAB2) gene on chromosome 9, and the GABA-A receptor-associated protein (GABARAP) gene on chromosome 17.

Li says the research could have significant public health implications because it could help curb smoking rates since researchers may be able to predict who is more prone to nicotine addiction. Tobacco is one of the most widely used substances; it kills more than 435,000 Americans each year, and despite increasing public awareness of the health risks associated with its use, little reduction in smoking prevalence has been achieved nationwide in recent years.


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Contact: Sharon Reis
sreis@gymr.com
202-745-5103
American College of Neuropsychopharmacology
Source:Eurekalert

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