Easily led 'ash-tray': Adolescent smokers prone to drug abuse

December 11, 2009

It is common knowledge that smoking is a health risk but why do teens become addicted to smoking more easily than adults? In an evaluation for Faculty of 1000 Biology, Neil Grunberg looks into why adolescents are more prone to substance abuse.

Grunberg describes the study, published by Natividad et al. in Synapse journal, as "fascinating" and suggests it "may have implications to help understand why adolescents are particularly prone to drug abuse".

Nicotine increases the level of dopamine in the brain, a neurotransmitter that is responsible for feelings of pleasure and wellbeing. The study looked at dopamine levels in adolescent and adult rats after nicotine withdrawal. The authors found that the withdrawal signs (physical and neurochemical) seen in adolescent rats were fewer than those observed in adults.

The study provides previously unknown mechanisms as to why there are differences in nicotine withdrawal between adolescent and adult rats. The key here, as stated by Grunberg, is "age alters [neurological] systems and interactions relevant to nicotine".

The reason that adolescents are prone to drug abuse (in this case, nicotine) is that they have increased sensitivity to its rewarding effects and do not display the same negative withdrawal effects as adults do, due to an underdeveloped dopamine-producing system.

Since rats are not subject to cultural influences, "rat studies of nicotine ... have provided valuable insights that have led to practical behavioural and pharmacological interventions", says Grunberg.

The results of this study may not stop at nicotine. Grunberg continues, "these findings might also be relevant to other addictive and abuse drugs".
-end-
http://blog.f1000.com
http://twitter.com/f1000
http://youtube.com/Facultyof1000

Notes for editors:

1. Neil Grunberg is a Faculty Member for F1000 Biology, Neuropharmacology & Psychopharmacology Section, and Professor at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, United States of America http://f1000biology.com/about/biography/4168692051025281

2. The full text of this article is available free for 90 days at http://www.f1000biology.com/article/d43fbwjsqtzb3f1/id/1166360

3. An abstract of the original article Nicotine withdrawal produces a decrease in extracellular levels of dopamine in the nucleus accumbens that is lower in adolescent versus adult male rats is at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez/19771590

4. Faculty of 1000 Biology, http://f1000biology.com, is a unique online service that helps you stay informed of high impact articles and access the opinions of global leaders in biology. Our distinguished international faculty select and evaluate key articles across biology, providing a rapidly updated, authoritative guide to the biological literature that matters

5. Please name Faculty of 1000 Biology in any story you write. If you are writing for the web, please link to the website.

6. Please contact Steve Pogonowski, PR Manager, for a complimentary journalist subscription to Faculty of 1000 press@f1000.com

Faculty of 1000

Related Smoking Articles from Brightsurf:

Smoking rates falling in adults, but stroke survivors' smoking rates remain steady
While the rate of Americans who smoke tobacco has fallen steadily over the last two decades, the rate of stroke survivors who smoke has not changed significantly.

What is your risk from smoking? Your network knows!
A new study from researchers at Penn's Annenberg School for Communication found that most people, smokers and non-smokers alike, were nowhere near accurate in their answers to questions about smoking's health effects.

Want to quit smoking? Partner up
Kicking the habit works best in pairs. That's the main message of a study presented today at EuroPrevent 2019, a scientific congress of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).

Smoking and mortality in Asia
In this analysis of data from 20 studies conducted in China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and India with more than 1 million participants, deaths associated with smoking continued to increase among men in Asia grouped by the years in which they were born.

Predictors of successfully quitting smoking among smokers registered at the quit smoking clinic at a public hospital in northeastern Malaysia
In the current issue of Family Medicine and Community Health, Nur Izzati Mohammad et al. consider how cigarette smoking is one of the risk factors leading to noncommunicable diseases such as cardiovascular and respiratory system diseases and cancer.

Restaurant and bar smoking bans do reduce smoking, especially among the highly educated
Smoking risk drops significantly in college graduates when they live near areas that have completely banned smoking in bars and restaurants, according to a new study in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

How the UK smoking ban increased wellbeing
Married women with children reported the largest increase in well-being following the smoking bans in the UK in 2006 and 2007 but there was no comparable increase for married men with children.

Smoking study personalizes treatment
A simple blood test is allowing Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) researchers to determine which patients should be prescribed varenicline (Chantix) to stop smoking and which patients could do just as well, and avoid side effects, by using a nicotine patch.

A biophysical smoking gun
While much about Alzheimer's disease remains a mystery, scientists do know that part of the disease's progression involves a normal protein called tau, aggregating to form ropelike inclusions within brain cells that eventually strangle the neurons.

A case where smoking helped
A mutation in the hemoglobin of a young woman in Germany was found to cause her mild anemia.

Read More: Smoking News and Smoking Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.