Next Article in Journal / Special Issue
Striatal Volume Increases in Active Methamphetamine-Dependent Individuals and Correlation with Cognitive Performance
Previous Article in Journal
Subliminal Affect Valence Words Change Conscious Mood Potency but Not Valence: Is This Evidence for Unconscious Valence Affect?
Previous Article in Special Issue
Functional and Structural Brain Changes Associated with Methamphetamine Abuse
Brain Sci. 2012, 2(4), 523-552; doi:10.3390/brainsci2040523

Neuroadaptation in Nicotine Addiction: Update on the Sensitization-Homeostasis Model

1,* , 2
Received: 12 July 2012 / Revised: 5 September 2012 / Accepted: 25 September 2012 / Published: 17 October 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Addiction and Neuroadaptation)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [383 KB, uploaded 17 October 2012]   |   Browse Figures


The role of neuronal plasticity in supporting the addictive state has generated much research and some conceptual theories. One such theory, the sensitization-homeostasis (SH) model, postulates that nicotine suppresses craving circuits, and this triggers the development of homeostatic adaptations that autonomously support craving. Based on clinical studies, the SH model predicts the existence of three distinct forms of neuroplasticity that are responsible for withdrawal, tolerance and the resolution of withdrawal. Over the past decade, many controversial aspects of the SH model have become well established by the literature, while some details have been disproven. Here we update the model based on new studies showing that nicotine dependence develops through a set sequence of symptoms in all smokers, and that the latency to withdrawal, the time it takes for withdrawal symptoms to appear during abstinence, is initially very long but shortens by several orders of magnitude over time. We conclude by outlining directions for future research based on the updated model, and commenting on how new experimental studies can gain from the framework put forth in the SH model.
Keywords: tobacco; nicotine; addiction; dependence; sensitization; homeostasis; neuroadaptation tobacco; nicotine; addiction; dependence; sensitization; homeostasis; neuroadaptation
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Share & Cite This Article

Further Mendeley | CiteULike
Export to BibTeX |
MDPI and ACS Style

DiFranza, J.R.; Huang, W.; King, J. Neuroadaptation in Nicotine Addiction: Update on the Sensitization-Homeostasis Model. Brain Sci. 2012, 2, 523-552.

View more citation formats

Related Articles

Article Metrics


Cited By

[Return to top]
Brain Sci. EISSN 2076-3425 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert