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Correlates of cigarette craving in acute nicotine withdrawal

Institution: Brentwood Biomedical Research Institute
Investigator(s): Murray Jarvik, M.D., Ph.D. Richard Olmstead, Ph.D.
Award Cycle: 2003 (Cycle 12) Grant #: 12RT-0132AH Award: $517,818
Subject Area: Nicotine Dependence
Award Type: Research Project Awards

Initial Award Abstract
By inhaling cigarette smoke, a smoker introduces nicotine into his lungs and blood stream. Nicotine causes a variety of chemicals to be released in the brain and in the rest of the body. Many of these are hormonal substances which can produce a feeling of well-being in smokers.

We are analyzing the blood of smokers when they have been forced to stop smoking for 4 hours to see if the level of nicotine, and of some of the substances released by nicotine, change at the same rate as craving for cigarettes. Furthermore, if falling levels of these substances produce craving, we should be able to tell how important they are by either blocking their action with certain drugs or by mimicking their action with other drugs. We are also looking for any ethnic and gender differences in blood components and craving response to nicotine and its products.

We are currently running Studies 1-3 (of five). Study 1 uses the 4-hour abstinence paradigm to measure cigarette craving with no drug manipulation. Study 1 is designed to look at ethnic and gender differences and we are recruiting specifically for four groups: Black/African-American, Hispanic, White, and Asian. The other studies use the same 4-hour abstinence paradigm but with nicotine patch versus placebo (Study 2) and mecamylamine, a nicotine antagonist, versus placebo (Study 3).

Progress Toward Specific Aims: We have completed Study 1 data collection and are nearing completion of Study 2. Study 3 recruitment is going well. We have been simultaneously cleaning and entering questionnaire and smoking topography data along with the running of experiments. Statistical analysis of this data is in progress. Plasma cortisol results have been received and plasma nicotine/cotinine analyses are in progress. Studies 4 and 5 are in preparation, case report forms are being created and medications are being ordered.

Future Direction and Impact: Data analyses are in progress for the data collected. An overview of the significant findings to date was presented in a poster at the 2005 TRDRP meeting.