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What Makes Smoking So Terribly Addictive

by Bidita Debnath on  December 31, 2013 at 9:43 PM Research News   - G J E 4
Researchers have explained how nicotine exploits the body's cellular machinery and promotes addiction.
 What Makes Smoking So Terribly Addictive
What Makes Smoking So Terribly Addictive
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According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, nicotine activates receptors known as nAChRs and, remarkably, unlike most other drugs of abuse, it acts as a "pharmacological chaperone" to stabilize assembly of its receptors within the Endoplasmic Reticulum (ER) and increase their abundance at the cell surface (up-regulation).

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Up-regulation of nAChRs plays a major role in nicotine addiction and, possibly, in the decreased susceptibility of smokers to Parkinson's disease.

Receptors containing an alpha6 subunit (alpha6* nAChRs) are abundant in several specific brain regions.

Researchers from the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena used mice expressing alpha6 labeled with a fluorescent protein to show that exposure to nicotine-at a level comparable to that in human smokers-up-regulated alpha6* nAChRs in these areas of the brain.

The study has been published in The Journal of General Physiology.

Source: ANI
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