Genetic Variation Impacts Brain Opioid Receptors in Smokers


May 17, 2011

Penn Medicine News Release

Nearly everyone who has tried to quit smoking says it's incredibly difficult, and the struggle is due in part to genetic factors. Now, a new study from the Raymond and Ruth University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine sheds light on how one specific genetic risk for smoking relapse may work: Some of the difficulties may be due to how many receptors, called "mu opioid" receptors, a smoker has in his or her brain. The results, published online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, may lead to the development of new treatments that target these receptors and help smokers increase their chances of success when they try to quit. The study was led by Caryn Lerman, PhD, the Mary W. Calkins Professor of Psychiatry and Interim Director of the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania... Read More