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Tobacco Smoking and Brain Endogenous Opioid Release: More Than Nicotine Alone

5/21/2019 - Nicotine & tobacco research

INTRODUCTION: The effects of smoking denicotinized (denic) and average nicotine (avnic) tobacco cigarettes were studied on brain mu opioid receptor binding by positron emission tomography with 11C carfentanil. The results indicated the importance of physiological and psychological effects induced by denic smoking. METHODS: Regional mu opioid binding potential (nondisplaceable binding potential, BPND) was measured in 20 adult male overnight abstinent chronic tobacco smokers. The denic sessions were conducted about 8:00 am followed by avnic sessions about 2 hours later. Venous plasma nicotine levels and scores of craving to smoke were assessed before and after each smoking session. Fagerstrom scores of nicotine dependence were determined. Pearson’s and Spearman’s correlation tests were used to examine associations between BPND and other smoking parameters. RESULTS: Surprisingly, the very low plasma nicotine peak levels after denic smoking (mean ± SD: 3.3 ± 1.8 ng/mL) were significantly correlated with BPND after denic and avnic smoking. Equally surprising no association was found between nicotine levels after avnic smoking and BPND. Delta craving scores and Fagerstrom scores were correlated with both BPND after denic and avnic in several brain regions. CONCLUSIONS: Very small amounts of nicotine, psychological and behavioral effects of denic smoking appear to have important actions on the endogenous mu opioid system. IMPLICATIONS: Associations between very low venous plasma nicotine levels after denic smoking and regional brain mu opioid receptor availability are a surprising placebo” effect. Delta craving and Fagerstrom scores were correlated with BPND in several brain regions including amygdala”
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Alexa Country Indonesia - 1108
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