News Release 

Diabetes drug relieves nicotine withdrawal

How a common diabetes drug works in the brain may provide a new strategy in the battle to quit smoking

Society for Neuroscience

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IMAGE: PPARγ transcription levels in the central amygdala. view more 

Credit: Domi et al., JNeurosci 2019

A drug commonly used to treat Type II diabetes abolishes the characteristic signs of nicotine withdrawal in rats and mice, according to new research published in JNeurosci. The finding may offer an important new strategy in the battle to quit smoking.

Smokers trying to quit face potent side effects from nicotine withdrawal, including cravings, increased appetite, restlessness, anxiety, irritability, and depression. Even though they may want to quit, many smokers continue to smoke simply because the experience is so unpleasant.

The diabetes drug, pioglitazone, targets a specific form of the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors in the nucleus. This receptor, PPARγ, is found in areas of the brain involved in drug addiction.

Domi et al. demonstrated that direct injections of pioglitazone into the hippocampi of male mice reduced the signs of physical nicotine withdrawal, including paw tremors, chattering, and head shakes. Injecting pioglitazone into the amygdala of male mice ameliorated signs of anxiety associated with nicotine withdrawal.

Nicotine abusers face a 30% higher risk of developing Type II diabetes. The researchers suggest pioglitazone may help diabetic smokers quit by lessening the physical and emotional withdrawal symptoms while reducing insulin resistance.

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Manuscript title: Activation of PPARγ Attenuates the Expression of Physical and Affective Nicotine Withdrawal Symptoms Through Mechanisms Involving Amygdala and Hippocampus Neurostransmission

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About JNeurosci

JNeurosci, the Society for Neuroscience's first journal, was launched in 1981 as a means to communicate the findings of the highest quality neuroscience research to the growing field. Today, the journal remains committed to publishing cutting-edge neuroscience that will have an immediate and lasting scientific impact, while responding to authors' changing publishing needs, representing breadth of the field and diversity in authorship.

About The Society for Neuroscience

The Society for Neuroscience is the world's largest organization of scientists and physicians devoted to understanding the brain and nervous system. The nonprofit organization, founded in 1969, now has nearly 37,000 members in more than 90 countries and over 130 chapters worldwide.

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