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Novel Approach to Quantify Nicotinic Receptor Upregulation in Smokers

Principal Investigator: Alexey Mukhin

Funding Mechanism: National Institutes of Health- Grant

ID Number: 1R21DA038242-01

Award Date: 9/1/2014

Institution: Duke University 


A reliable and minimally invasive biomarker of extended nicotine exposure could be useful in measuring changes in nicotine intake and evaluating reduced nicotine content tobacco products. The goal of this project is to evaluate the utility of nicotinic receptor (nAChR) upregulation in two types of white blood cells (granulocytes and lymphocytes) as a biomarker of extended nicotine exposure. Specific aims are: (1) to determine the minimum blood volume required for quantification of β2-containing and β4-containing nAChRs in granulocytes and lymphocytes; (2) to assess upregulation of β4-containing and β2-containing nAChRs in smokers’ granulocytes and lymphocytes; and (3) to assess the relationship between upregulation of β2-containing and β4-containing nAChRs in white blood cells and nicotine exposure, measured by nicotine intake per day and plasma cotinine level. To investigate these aims, researchers will analyze blood samples from 50 smokers and 30 nonsmokers aged 18-60. Study results may provide data indicating whether nAChR upregulation in white blood cells is a potential biomarker of extended nicotine exposure.


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