Nicotine induced prediabetes, a known risk factor for cardiovascular disease..

July 13, 2009 - Researchers at Charles Drew University have found that nicotine promotes prediabetes, also known as insulin resistance, in smokers, which is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

This study has been previously reported: Nicotine induces prediabetes, likely contributes to high prevalence of heart disease in smokers..

The study’s lead author, Theodore Friedman, chief of the endocrinology division at Charles Drew University, suggests previous theory that nicotine and cigarette smoking induce high levels of the stress hormone cortisol was correct. As cortisol excess is known to induce insulin resistance, it has been suggested that glucocorticoids, such as cortisol, are the missing [causative] link between cigarette smoking and insulin resistance”.

The study authors were also able to undo some harmful effects of nicotine in mice to some extent by treating them with the nicotine antagonist mecamylamine, a drug that blunts the action of nicotine.

Friedman said: “Our results suggest that reducing tissue glucocorticoid levels or decreasing insulin resistance may reduce the heart disease seen in smokers. We anticipate that in the future there will be drugs to specifically block the effect of nicotine on glucocorticoids and insulin resistance.”

Reference: Why smoking increases heart stroke risk, The Times of India, 7/12/2009.