"We knew these lipids were implicated in nicotine addiction, but until now manipulating their synthesis was not pharmacologically feasible", said senior author Loren Parsons, professor at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in US.

The motivation for natural rewards such as food and exercise — and also of drugs such as nicotine — relies on neurons in the brain's reward system, based in a brain region called the ventral tegmental area (VTA).
    
Obtaining a reward leads to excitation of these neurons and the release of a neurotransmitter called dopamine, which acts on other neurons to trigger positive emotions.
    
The degree to which the reward system can be activated is normally tightly controlled. A neurotransmitter called GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid) inhibits excitatory signalling in neurons and keeps the system in balance.

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