Although most people want to quit smoking it is hard to curb nicotine addiction. Dr. Ricky Stull, assistant professor at Western Michigan University said that people are trying to go cold turkey all the time. However, the problem most people face is withdrawal symptoms.
Study unearths mechanism of beating nicotine addiction
Stull conducted groundbreaking research that could offer a solution to the problem of nicotine withdrawal symptoms. His study advances a strategy that employs enzymes that degraded nicotine in the body and thus flushing it from the system without adverse events.
The study published in the Nature Chemical Biology journal corrects a fatal shortcoming in an animal model study in 2018 that generated a buzz globally. According to the original study nicotine-addicted rats when injected with the enzyme NicA2 managed to kick their addiction. Stull indicated that the rats didn’t show any relapse or withdrawal signs which is great news. However, there was an issue with the NicA2 enzyme used in the study since it was degrading nicotine slowly. As a result, researchers had to use huge amounts to see desired benefits to translate to humans.
For the NicA2 enzyme to degrade nicotine, it requires an electron acceptor. Stull and researchers at the University of Michigan have established that researchers in the early study had mistakenly presumed that molecular oxygen was the enzyme’s electron acceptor. Undergraduate lab assistant at Michigan University Chris Clark said that their work demonstrated that molecular oxygen is not a NicA2 enzyme acceptor.
Cytochrome protein as the natural NicA2 enzyme electron acceptor
Instead, the researchers found a cytochrome protein that is part of the electron transport system and is often used in energy production in cells as the natural electron acceptor. Clark said that they found that using cytochrome c as the electron acceptor means you will need less nicA2 to get nicotine addiction’s beneficial loss.
The results of the study could be a massive milestone for millions of users addicted to tobacco and are struggling to quit. Stull indicated that this will be important for those who are trying to quit smoking and are at risk of relapsing.