Smoking may be more pleasurable to some than others
Smoking may be more pleasurable to some than others according to a recent study published in the August issue of Addiction. Findings from the study reported by Ovide Pomerleau, Ph.D., of the University of Michigan, and colleagues, suggest that the nicotine sensation that can lead to addiction is more pleasurable for some due to a genetic mutation. The mutation occurs in a subunit of the neuronal acetylcholine receptor (CHRNA5) which increases the risk of addiction by 50% and increases pleasurable sensation by 60%. According to the authors, “The findings suggest that phenotypes related to subjective experiences upon smoking experimentation may mediate the development of nicotine dependence.” The following is an excerpt of an article from Medpage Today that reviews the findings:
Many studies have underscored the genetic influence on smoking habits, including initiation, persistence, and addiction, and recently, several common variants have been shown to be associated with nicotine dependence in Caucasians, the authors said.
The variants, or single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), had several effects with functional significance, including effects on nicotine metabolism, they continued. Additional research showed that an SNP in exon 4 of CHRNA5 altered the nicotine receptor.
Subsequently, a highly correlated CHRNA5/CHRNA3 haplotype was found to have a strong influence on smoking behavior, specifically the number of cigarettes smoked per day, the authors said.
In an attempt to expand on the previous work, Dr. Pomerleau and colleagues focused on phenotype associations for the top 25 SNPs associated with nicotine dependence. They began with the SNP previously shown to alter the nicotine receptor (rs16969968) and then examined the other 24.