New directions in the genetic mechanisms underlying nicotine addiction

Addict Biol. 2001 Apr;6(2):109-117. doi: 10.1080/13556210020040181.


Major advances have been made in understanding nicotine addiction and smoking behaviour in recent years. In particular, evidence for the relative importance of genetic and environmental effects on smoking initiation and persistence has emerged from behaviour genetic studies. These data have supported evidence from molecular genetic studies for the role of particular candidate genes in tobacco dependence. Studies of the personality correlates of smoking behaviour suggest that these factors mediate the association between genetics and smoking initiation, while learning models of nicotine addiction suggest a role for dopaminergic genes in facilitating neuroadaptations associated with smoking persistence and development of nicotine dependence. Integrating these different avenues of research represents one of the most interesting and potentially fruitful ventures in the treatment of tobacco dependence.