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J Clin Med Res. 2013 Jun;5(3):164-7. doi: 10.4021/jocmr1159w. Epub 2013 Apr 23.

Leptin influence in craving and relapse of alcoholics and smokers.

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  • 1Departamento de Nutricao, Instituto de Ciencias Biologicas, Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora, Juiz de Fora, Minas Gerais, Brasil.


Leptin inhibits signaling of dopamine in the nucleus accumbens, suggesting its role in regulating stress and its possible involvement in the neurobiology of reward system. The aim of this study was to review of the literature on the influence of leptin in the craving for alcohol and tobacco and whether there is already evidence that leptin may be a biomarker to indicate risk for craving and relapse. The review used as data bases Medline, LILACS and SciElo in the period between 2000 and 2012. Keywords were leptin, substance use disorders, craving and withdrawal, in Portuguese and English. Only 12 articles were met the inclusion criteria, relating leptin with craving in alcoholics (n = 10) and smokers (n = 2). No studies were found in the LILACS database. Leptin levels increase during abstinence and this may be related to a reduction of dopaminergic action in mesolimbic system, resulting in a greater intensity of craving and maintenance of addictive behavior. Although there are few studies, the most recent results indicate the usefulness of leptin as a marker of risk for relapse among smokers and alcoholics in abstinence.


Alcoholism; Drug dependence; Leptin; Review; Smoking

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