The Yin and Yang of nicotine: harmful during development, beneficial in adult patient populations
- 1Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, School of Medicine, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD, USA
- 2Department of Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology, Center for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research, VU University, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Nicotine has remarkably diverse effects on the brain. Being the main active compound in tobacco, nicotine can aversively affect brain development. However, it has the ability to act positively by restoring attentional capabilities in smokers. Here, we focus on nicotine exposure during the prenatal and adolescent developmental periods and specifically, we will review the long-lasting effects of nicotine on attention, both in humans and animal models. We discuss the reciprocal relation of the beneficial effects of nicotine, improving attention in smokers and in patients with neuropsychiatric diseases, such as schizophrenia and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, vs. nicotine-related attention deficits already caused during adolescence. Given the need for research on the mechanisms of nicotine’s cognitive actions, we discuss some of the recent work performed in animals.
Keywords: nicotine, developmental stages, animal model, brain development, ADHD
Citation: Counotte DS, Smit AB and Spijker S (2012) The Yin and Yang of nicotine: harmful during development, beneficial in adult patient populations. Front. Pharmacol. 3:180. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2012.00180
Received: 15 June 2012; Accepted: 18 September 2012;
Published online: 08 October 2012.
Copyright: © 2012 Counotte, Smit and Spijker. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and subject to any copyright notices concerning any third-party graphics etc.
*Correspondence: Sabine Spijker, Department of Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology, Center for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research, Neuroscience Campus Amsterdam, VU University, De Boelelaan 1085, 1081 HV Amsterdam, Netherlands e-mail: email@example.com