Synaptic Plasticity Within Midbrain Dopamine Centers Contributes to Nicotine Addiction
Introduction to the Health Problem
Approximately one-third of the world’s adult population uses tobacco, making nicotine addiction a major worldwide health problem. The majority of smokers begin during adolescence, and for those that continue to smoke die from a smoking-related disease (WHO, 1997). In the developing world, smoking-related deaths are on the rise (Peto et al., 1996) and the illness caused by smoking is estimated to be the largest cause of premature deaths in developed nations (Peto, Lopez, Boreham, Thun, & Heath, 1992).
As the primary addictive substance in tobacco smoke (Karan, Dani, & Benowitz, 2003), nicotine has been shown to produce drug-seeking behavior in animals (Corrigall, 1999; Corrigall & Coen, 1989; Di Chiara, 2000; Stolerman & Shoaib, 1991). Nicotine is also known to have effects similar to other addictive drugs, including reinforcement of self-administration, increased locomotor activity (Bevins, Eurek, & Besheer, 2005), enhanced reward from intracranial...
KeywordsVentral Tegmental Area Nicotinic Receptor Action Potential Firing Excitatory Synaptic Transmission nAChR Subtype
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