American researchers have recently discovered a connection between two proteins in the brain, linking nicotine addiction and autism.
According to a study presented at a Society for Neuroscience meeting, there is a physical and functional association between these two conditions.
The study showed that the neurexin-1 beta proteins, which are a part of the brain’s chemical communication system, are related to a certain type of nicotinic acetylcholine receptor and play an important role in the proper formation and maturation of synapses. Proper synapse function is critical to the central nervous system’s ability to connect and control other body systems.
Previous studies had reported that while such nicotinic receptors are absent in the brain of autistic patients, there are quite a few number of these receptors in the brain of addicts.
Findings revealed that nicotine increases the neurexin-1 levels in the brain of smokers, bringing more nicotinic receptors to the synapses and making them more efficient.
Scientists believe drugs used to curb nicotine addiction can also be effective in alleviating autism symptoms.
Source: PKH/HGH, PressTV