A nicotine by-product reacts with proteins, say scientists at TSRI

the development of these advanced glycation endproducts.

When they tested the blood of smokers and non-smokers, they found that the smokers had higher levels of the nornicotine-modified proteins than non-smokers. The smokers also had higher levels of the advanced glycation endproducts.

The persistence of nornicotine in the bloodstreamas opposed to nicotine, which quickly disappears after cessation of smokingmay also suggest a role for nornicotine in contributing to the biological mechanisms of tobacco addiction, since the nornicotine provides a long-lived source of nicotine-like molecules.

The work highlights the need for more studies into the consequences of exposing the human body to nicotine metabolites, like nornicotine.

The article, "A previously undescribed chemical link between smoking and metabolic disease" was authored by Tobin J. Dickerson and Kim D. Janda and appears in the October 28, 2002 online edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The article will appear in print later this year.


Contact: Jason Bardi
Scripps Research Institute

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