Nicotine addiction and nicotinic receptors: lessons from genetically modified mice

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2010 Jun;11(6):389-401. doi: 10.1038/nrn2849.


The past decades have seen a revolution in our understanding of brain diseases and in particular of drug addiction. This has been largely due to the identification of neurotransmitter receptors and the development of animal models, which together have enabled the investigation of brain functions from the molecular to the cognitive level. Tobacco smoking, the principal - yet avoidable - cause of lung cancer is associated with nicotine addiction. Recent studies in mice involving deletion and replacement of nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subunits have begun to identify the molecular mechanisms underlying nicotine addiction and might offer new therapeutic strategies to treat this addiction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Central Nervous System / drug effects
  • Central Nervous System / pathology
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Gene Expression / drug effects
  • Gene Expression / genetics
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Models, Biological
  • Models, Molecular
  • Neural Pathways / physiopathology
  • Nicotine / pharmacology
  • Protein Subunits / genetics
  • Receptors, Nicotinic / genetics*
  • Reward
  • Tobacco Use Disorder* / genetics
  • Tobacco Use Disorder* / pathology
  • Tobacco Use Disorder* / physiopathology


  • Protein Subunits
  • Receptors, Nicotinic
  • Nicotine