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What causes the increase in blinking rate due to nicotine?

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    • Thread Starter

    In research of stimulative drugs I came across this article, which mentioned about the well-known effects of nicotine on blinking rates. I researched further, yet couldn't find much more on it.

    Nicotinic rather than dopaminergic receptors control the spontaneous blinking rate in humans, study says.
    I understand that it increases, but is anyone able to explain why nicotine causes the rate to increase, in layman's terms mayhaps?

    Like a concise, if brief, way to the mechanisms behind it? It's too complicated.
    • Thread Starter


    (Original post by XcitingStuart)
    I understand that it increases, but is anyone able to explain why nicotine causes the rate to increase, in layman's terms mayhaps?

    I'm not sure what level of study you're at, but given you're researching this, I'm inclined to think you're in Year 13..

    Having a read of the article, I think I understand it.
    Nicotine is a stimulant neurotransmitter. It binds to nicotinic receptors on the post-synaptic neurone (the neurone that receives the impulse).
    In actual fact, these receptors respond to AcetylCholine (ACh), but Nicotine has a complementary structure to ACh. That's why we called them Nicotinic AcetylCholine Receptors.

    Now the post-synaptic neurone in question is a dopaminergic neurone. This is a neurone that will release the neurotransmitter dopamine.

    So when nicotine is present in the brain, it will bind to receptors on a dopaminergic neurone causing the membrane to be depolarised, thus inducing an impulse. This will travel to the end which will release dopamine, in addition to the dopamine normally released by processes in the brain.
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