Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tobacco Chemical Protects Against Parkinson's Disease

Date:
March 29, 2000
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
For the first time, scientists have identified a chemical in tobacco that may explain why smokers are statistically less vulnerable to Parkinson's disease. The compound has been shown to slow the breakdown of key brain chemicals, including dopamine, which is typically depleted in the brains of patients with Parkinson's disease, according to researchers at Virginia Tech. The association between smoking and Parkinson's disease has been known for more than 20 years, but until now could not be scientifically explained.

Phenomenon long known, never before explained

SAN FRANCISCO, March 27 -- For the first time, scientists have identified a chemical in tobacco that may explain why smokers are statistically less vulnerable to Parkinson's disease. The compound has been shown to slow the breakdown of key brain chemicals, including dopamine, which is typically depleted in the brains of patients with Parkinson's disease, according to researchers at Virginia Tech. The association between smoking and Parkinson's disease has been known for more than 20 years, but until now could not be scientifically explained.

The findings were presented here today at the 219th national meeting of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society, by Kay Castagnoli, a senior research associate in the Department of Chemistry and a member of the school's Harvey W. Peters Center for the Study of Parkinson's Disease.

The tobacco compound is described as a derivative of naphthoquinone, and works by interfering with an enzyme in the brain known as monoamine oxidase (MAO). MAO typically breaks down neurotransmitters - including dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine - as part of normal chemical activity in the brain.

In their study, the Virginia Tech researchers administered MPTP, a designer drug that produces a Parkinson-like disease, to laboratory rodents. Sold in the early l980s, MPTP was meant to mimic the effects of heroin. Addicts who took large doses suffered severe Parkinsonian symptoms. The naphthoquinone derivative protected the rodents against the toxic effects of MPTP, according to the researchers.

The researchers have started a second rodent study to confirm their initial findings. In addition, tests are underway in which the blood platelets of smokers are examined - before and after they smoke - to see if the naphthoquinone or related tobacco-derived compounds reduce MAO activity. The results will be correlated with the effects of the napththoquinone on MAO activity 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.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Tobacco Chemical Protects Against Parkinson's Disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 March 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/03/000329081250.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2000, March 29). Tobacco Chemical Protects Against Parkinson's Disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/03/000329081250.htm
American Chemical Society. "Tobacco Chemical Protects Against Parkinson's Disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/03/000329081250.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) President Obama is expected to send 3,000 troops to West Africa as part of the effort to contain Ebola's spread. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama Orders Military Response to Ebola

Obama Orders Military Response to Ebola

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Calling the Ebola outbreak in West Africa a potential threat to global security, President Barack Obama is ordering 3,000 U.S. military personnel to the stricken region amid worries that the outbreak is spiraling out of control. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN: 20,000 Could Be Infected With Ebola by Year End

UN: 20,000 Could Be Infected With Ebola by Year End

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Nearly $1.0 billion dollars is needed to fight the Ebola outbreak raging in west Africa, the United Nations say, warning that 20,000 could be infected by year end. Duration: 00:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: Ebola Outbreak Threat to Global Security

Obama: Ebola Outbreak Threat to Global Security

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) President Obama is ordering U.S. military personnel to West Africa to deal with the Ebola outbreak, which is he calls a potential threat to global security. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins