"When we think about smoking and smoking toxicity, we usually think of the lungs," said Brookhaven chemist Joanna Fowler, one of authors of the study, which will be published online by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the week of September 8, 2003. "Here we see a very marked effect of smoking on one of the major enzymes in the body, and we see that this effect extends far beyond the lungs."
"The ground-breaking findings by Joanna Fowler's group at Brookhaven National Laboratory on the systemic effects of tobacco smoking are the result of years of investment by the Office of Science in the fundamental sciences of radiochemistry and in imaging instrumentation development," said Dr. Raymond L. Orbach, Director of the DOE's Office of Science. "With the new radiotracers we are developing, for the first time we shall be able to understand the abnormal metabolism of the brain and other organs in a wide range of disease states."
The Brookhaven team's previous research showed that the reduction of MAO B in the brains of smokers was not due to nicotine, but rather, to some other component of tobacco smoke. "Since smoking exposes the entire body to the tobacco compounds that inhibit MAO B, we believed it had the potential to limit MAO B activity throughout the body," said Fowler, who conducted the current study to investigate this effect.
She and her colleagues in the Medical and Chemistry Departments at Brookhaven Lab and the Psychiatry a
Contact: Karen McNulty Walsh
DOE/Brookhaven National Laboratory