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The inhibition of cerebral monoamine oxidases (MAOs) by cigarette smoke components could participate to the tobacco addiction. However, the actual extent of this inhibition in vivo in smokers is still poorly known. We investigated cerebral MAO-A availability in 7 tobacco-dependent subjects and 6 healthy nonsmokers, using positron emission tomography (PET) and the MAO-A selective radioligand [C]befloxatone. In comparison to nonsmokers, smokers showed a significant overall reduction of [C]befloxatone binding potential (BP) in cortical areas (average reduction, -60%) and a similar trend in caudate and thalamus (-40%). Our findings confirm a widespread inhibition of cerebral MAO-A in smokers. This mechanism may contribute to tobacco addiction and for a possible mood-modulating effect of tobacco.


Claire Leroy, Véronique Bragulat, Ivan Berlin, Marie-Claude Grégoire, Michel Bottlaender, Dimitri Roumenov, Frédéric Dollé, Sandrine Bourgeois, Jani Penttilä, Eric Artiges, Jean-Luc Martinot, Christian Trichard. Cerebral monoamine oxidase A inhibition in tobacco smokers confirmed with PET and [11C]befloxatone. Journal of clinical psychopharmacology. 2009 Feb;29(1):86-8

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PMID: 19142115

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