The effects of nicotine and cigarette smoke on the monoamine transporters



Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable illness worldwide; however, smoking addiction remains poorly understood and cessation therapies based on nicotine replacement have limited success. The monoamine transporters are the primary mechanism for regulating the levels of dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine in the synapse, and have been implicated in addiction and associated behaviors. Furthermore, the non-nicotinic smoking cessation therapy bupropion acts at least in part by blocking the dopamine and norepinephrine transporters. Despite this, little work has been conducted into the effects of nicotine and cigarette smoke on the monoamine transporters. This review will outline research that has been conducted to date on cigarette smoke, nicotine and the monoamine transporters. This will include monoamine transporter regulation by nicotine and cigarette smoke, genetic associations of the transporters with smoking behavior, and the potential for monoamine transporters to be targets in the development of smoking cessation pharmacotherapies. Synapse , 2011. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.