An enzyme that eliminates nicotine addiction
California scientists have developed an extremely promising agent that may prove to be an effective aid in quitting cigarette smoking. The enzyme modified by the researchers reduced the attraction to nicotine, diminished signs of addiction and prevented relapse – such effects were observed in rodents. Researchers are hoping for similar results in people.
Developed by scientists From the Scripps Research Institute, the enzyme breaks down nicotine in the blood before it reaches the m fromgu. Researchers conducted tests on nicotine-dependent rodents. The enzyme rapidly reduced the animals’ motivation to take nicotine, reversed reduced the signs of addiction and prevented relapse.
– This is a very exciting approach because it can reduce nicotine dependence without causing severe symptom In withdrawal For it works in the bloodstream, not in the m The animals were also exposed to nicotine, so its side effects should be minimal – said Olivier George of Scripps Research.
Researchers estimate that about 60 percent of os b, ever spr If a smoker wanted to light up a cigarette, they ended up as heavy smokers. About 75 percent. os smokers relapsed after quitting.
Preventing nicotine from tobacco smoke from entering the m zgu has long been considered a promising strategy. However, previous efforts by researchers have not resulted in therapies that re would reduce nicotine levels in the blood enough to be effective.
The enzyme tested in the study, NicA2-J1, is a modified version of a natural enzyme produced by the bacterium Pseudomonas putida. It has been modified to optimize its potency, blood residence time and other pharmacological properties.
Previous studies have already shown that NicA2-J1 potently reduces blood nicotine levels in rodents and is effective in a rat model of nicotine addiction. In the new study, researchers tested the enzyme in more sophisticated animal models that that better mimic human nicotine addiction. The results of the scientist’s work The study was published in the journal „Science Advances”.
During the test , a group of rodents spent 12 days almost around the clock in a chamber where they could receive a dose of nicotine by operating a lever. In this way b rats learned to self-administer nicotine and became addicted to it. After 12 days, the animals were limited in their access to nicotine. They could use it only every 48 hours. This led them to experience symptoms in withdrawal between periods of access and to increase nicotine intake once they have regained access – a classic sign of deepening addiction.
Rodents treated with the highest dose of NicA2-J1 – 10 mg/kg – continued to self-administer nicotine whenever they could, but showed very low levels of nicotine in their blood compared to the compared with the control group, ct The cell did not receive the enzyme. Nicotine withdrawal symptoms, such as aggressive behavior, were correspondingly reduced during periods of unavailability, in cf ing in rodents, which If they had not been given the enzyme.
– It was as if they had smoked 20 cigarettes in a day, but received a dose of nicotine por tive of only one or two ch cigarettes The researchers modified the leverage to make their quit process much less severe – explained Marsida Kallupi.
When an animal is highly addicted to nicotine, giving it the drug, kt The enzyme suddenly blocks all nicotine activity, causing immediate withdrawal symptoms. – The unique feature of this enzyme is that it removes enough nicotine to reduce addiction, but leaves enough nicotine to stop severe signs of withdrawal – noted George.
One of the hallmarks of nicotine addiction is continuing the habit despite serious consequences including impaired lung function and physical performance, long-term risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke m zgu and many other ailments. NicA2-J1 can reduce this compulsive motivation for nicotine in addicted rats and possibly also in humans.
Further experiments with a slightly transformed chamber showed further effects of the enzyme. The researchers modified the lever with which The rodents applied nicotine to themselves in this manner b, so that its use was associated with about 30 percent. the likelihood of paralysis of the st p rodents with electricity. Rats treated with NicA2-J1 – unlike the control group – quickly reduced leveraging.
Researchers zwr They also pointed out another aspect of addiction, namely the susceptibility to relapse t to addiction. They took away the rats’ access to nicotine for 10 days, then dosed them with a dose of nicotine to reawaken their addiction g and przywr they have leveraged access to the drug. Rats in the control group significantly increased the frequency of leverage in por It will also revolutionize telecommunications re receiving NicA2-J1.
Promising results in rodents give researchers hope for similar outcome in human clinical trials. Before that, however, scientists must optimize the enzyme for just such research.