Washington: Scientists say they`ve finally discovered why smokers tend to gain some weight when they kick the habit.
But when it comes to weight, the Yale research found that both nicotine and the related drug cytisine were activating a different receptor than the one involved in addiction. This one is located on a small set of neurons in the hypothalamus, a region that regulates appetite.When they gave nicotine to mice without that cellular pathway, it didn`t help them lose weight like it did normal mice.Smoking causes cancer, heart attacks and a host of other ailments so worry about modest weight gain shouldn`t deter someone from quitting. But smokers who do have that concern should try nicotine-based smoking-cessation treatments, said study senior author Marina Picciotto, a Yale professor of psychiatry and neurobiology.The other drug used in the mouse experiments, cytisine, is sold in Eastern Europe for smoking cessation but not in the U.S., and she`d like to see if there`s data on the weight of smokers abroad who`ve used it.Developing a drug to target only these specific receptors would be difficult, she cautions, because they`re also involved in the body`s stress responses in ways that could lead to such side effects as high blood pressure. Bureau Report
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