Latest press release from Nature Neuropsychopharmacology
Early childhood adversity increases the likelihood of developing nicotine addiction in later life, according to a study published online this week in Neuropsychopharmacology. The work suggests that this adversity may have a different effect on women and men, especially in the presence of a certain genetic alteration.
The predisposition for nicotine addiction is known to be heavily influenced by genetics, but little is known about the combined effect of genetics and environment on cigarette smoking. Joel Gelernter and team surveyed 2,206 European-American participants about smoking behavior and childhood trauma, such as physical abuse or witnessing a violent crime. They found that self-reported childhood trauma increased the risk for chronic smoking, and women were twice as likely to be affected by it as men. However, they also note that men carrying a particular genetic alteration were highly sensitive to the effects of childhood adversity on smoking.
This study highlights the fact that genes can influence the response to environmental risk factors in a sex-dependent manner.
Joel Gelernter (Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA)
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Diane Drexler (Neuropsychopharmacology, Brentwood, TN, USA)
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