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Biomarkers for Dependence and Menthol in ENDS

Principal Investigator: Henry A. Lester

Funding Mechanism: National Institutes of Health – Grant

ID number: 3R01DA036061-03S1

Award Date: 8/9/2016

Institution: California Institute of Technology

Chronic exposure to menthol changes the level of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) in the brain, which may help to explain the observation that menthol smokers find it harder to quit. This study supplements a parent grant that established a biomarker for nicotine dependence in mice and then used that biomarker to study the impact of menthol on nAChRs. This supplemental study will develop and use a set of three live-cell assays suitable for assessing tobacco product additives such as menthol and electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) liquid flavorings. Supplemental study aims are: (1) to select human neuroblastoma cell lines expressing human nicotine-sensitive nAChRs; (2) to develop and standardize three assays for assessing the effects of menthol on nAChRs; and (3) to use the assays to assess whether chronic exposure to menthol isomers added to tobacco cigarettes and ENDS has specific effects on the brain.

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