How nicotine influences food intake - News from Neuroscience


Nicotine decreases food intake through activation of neurons

Smokers often report that upon smoking cessation their weight increases. This might be due to "compensation of the smoking habits by food intake". However, recently Marina Picciotto and colleagues from Yale university found that in mice nicotine increases the firing of brain neurons producing pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC), a precursor of melanocortin. The melanocortin pathway regulates food intake as well as energy use.

With this study the authors identified critical molecular and synaptic mechanisms involved in nicotine-induced decreases in appetite.

Find the related publication here -

Mineur YS, Abizaid A, Rao Y, Salas R, DiLeone RJ, Gündisch D, Diano S, De Biasi M, Horvath TL, Gao XB, Picciotto MR. (2011), "Nicotine decreases food intake through activation of POMC neurons." Science 332(6035):1330-2



Josef Ecker

3rd November 2011