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PLoS One. 2016 Mar 30;11(3):e0150270. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0150270. eCollection 2016.

Neuronal Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor Modulators Reduce Sugar Intake.

Author information

1
Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology at Translational Research Institute, Brisbane, Australia.
2
Centre for Health Sciences, Bioscience Division, SRI International, Menlo Park, California, United States of America.
3
School of Psychology and Counselling, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia.

Abstract

Excess sugar consumption has been shown to contribute directly to weight gain, thus contributing to the growing worldwide obesity epidemic. Interestingly, increased sugar consumption has been shown to repeatedly elevate dopamine levels in the nucleus accumbens (NAc), in the mesolimbic reward pathway of the brain similar to many drugs of abuse. We report that varenicline, an FDA-approved nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) partial agonist that modulates dopamine in the mesolimbic reward pathway of the brain, significantly reduces sucrose consumption, especially in a long-term consumption paradigm. Similar results were observed with other nAChR drugs, namely mecamylamine and cytisine. Furthermore, we show that long-term sucrose consumption increases α4β2 * and decreases α6β2* nAChRs in the nucleus accumbens, a key brain region associated with reward. Taken together, our results suggest that nAChR drugs such as varenicline may represent a novel treatment strategy for reducing sugar consumption.

PMID:
27028298
PMCID:
PMC4814119
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0150270
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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