Tobacco chemical protects against Parkinson's disease

ity in the rodent brain.

In another paper at the same meeting, Joanna S. Fowler, Ph.D., a scientist at Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, N.Y., reported that positron emission tomography (PET) studies show that smokers' brains have lower levels of MAO than non-smokers' brains. MAO is responsible for breakdown of dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin, neurotransmitters that- control much of the brain's neuronal activity. This makes MAO a prime target for the development of drugs to treat both Parkinson's disease and depression, she said. Fowler added that the discovery that tobacco contains an MAO inhibitor suggests that smoking also may reduce depression - another reason why smokers find it so difficult to quit.


Contact: Charmayne Marsch
American Chemical Society

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