Genes may help some quit smoking

Smokers who have tried to give up cigarettes and failed may soon be able to come up with another excuse. Scientists say the findings could open the way to select right treatment for addicts.

Genes may help some quit smoking

Smokerswho have tried to give up cigarettes and failed may soon be able to come upwith another excuse - they were born to remain addicted. Scientists say thefindings could open the way to select right treatment for addicts.

Smokers who have tried to give up cigarettes and failed may soon be able tocome up with another excuse - they were born to remain addicted.

In the first study of its kind, scientists have identified a series ofgenetic traits for addictiveness that appear to be inherited by smokers who trybut fail to kick the habit.

Scientists believe that the findings could soon open the way to testing aperson's genetic make-up to see whether they can be weaned off cigarettes withthe help of specially-targeted treatments.

"The long-term hope is that identifying genetic variables insmokers will help us determine which type of treatment would be mosteffective," said Jed Rose, of DukeUniversity in Durham, North Carolina.

"Knowing a smoker's genetic make-up could indicate how intensely theyneed to be treated. People who are having trouble quitting because of theirgenes might need more treatment to overcome their addiction," Dr Rosesaid.

The latest research into the addictiveness of cigarettes suggests that genesplay a significant role in making someone dependent on smoking in the firstplace, and making it more difficult for them to quit once they have started.

It is part of a wider study of the human genome to investigate the genesthat appear to play an important role in the formation of a person'spsychological make-up, such as an inherited predisposition to addictiveness orrisk-taking behaviour.

"This research marks the first time we've been able to identify genesinvolved in the ability to quit smoking," said Dr Nora Volkow, thedirector of the US National Institute on Drug Abuse in Washington.

"It marks a movement from identifying the genetics of addictionvulnerability to identifying the genetic basis of successful abstinence. Thisknowledge could impact the success rate of cessation programmes by helpinghealth care providers choose the most appropriate treatment based on individualdifferences."

The scientists, who were funded by the US government and Philip Morris,the cigarette makers, screened more than 520,000 genes to compare the geneticvariations found among smokers who had successfully given up with geneticvariations among smokers who had tried to quit but failed.

"We identified 221 genes that distinguished successful quitters fromthose who were unsuccessful," said Dr George Uhl, who carried out thatanalysis at the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

"We know the functions of about 187 of these genes, but 34 havefunctions that are unknown at present.

"We also found that at least 62 of the genes that we hadpreviously identified as playing roles in dependence to other drugs alsocontribute to nicotine dependence," he said.

"These findings lend further support to the idea that nicotinedependence shares some common genetic vulnerabilities with addictions to otherlegal and illegal substances."

One of the genes that appears to differ between smokers who give up andthose who cannot is called cadherin 13, which produces a substance known to beinvolved in controlling how nerve cells in the brain stick together, Dr Rosesaid.

"Smokers whose nerve cell connections are not working properlymay be more vulnerable to addiction and may face a tougher time quitting. Thesefindings open up new possibilities in finding specific targets for treatment."

Another of the genes involved in smoking addictiveness is also known to playa role in controlling how people respond to stress - the gene produces aprotein that is important in guiding learning processes in the brain, Dr Uhlsaid.

The next stage of the research will involve testing different forms oftreatment for giving up smoking to see how effective they are on people withdiffering genetic make-up, Dr Volkow said.

"We soon may be able to make use of this information to matchtreatments with the smokers most likely to benefit from them," Dr Volkowsaid.

Biomed Central Genetic

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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