Why cigarettes are addictive?

December 1, 2019  11:54

Scientists from the University of Toronto found out which brain cells are responsible for aversion to nicotine. These data in the future may help develop a truly effective treatment for nicotine addiction, Rossiiskaya Gazeta reported.

Nicotine has a dual effect on the brain - it causes both pleasure and disgust. As it turned out, two groups of cells (dopamine and secreting gamma-aminobutyric acid, GABA) are responsible for these sensations - different populations of neurons located in the same area of the brain, which is involved in the formation of habits and is involved in the reward system.

Experts conducted an experiment with rodents, originally devoid of nicotine receptors. These receptors were then selectively restored. It turned out that the pleasure of nicotine was caused by neurons responsible for the production of GABA, and the unpleasant sensations were caused by dopamine.

The more a person smokes, the less disgust for cigarettes he feels. This indicates changes in signal transmission processes in the reward system.

An understanding of this pattern may help develop a truly effective therapy for nicotine addiction.

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