Todos sabemos os problemas que o consumo de tabaco poderão ter na sua saúde. Dificil é deixar este prazer, um hábito que certamente não consegue dispensar. O auxilio na cessação do ato de fumar é crucial para que não volte a sentir necessidade de procurar o tabaco e na prevenção das doenças e outros problemas associados.
Cientistas estudam uma enzima bacteriana, possível candidata a fármaco, para reduzir a procura e o consumo de tabaco. Esta enzima torna-se capaz de ‘devorar’ a nicotina da corrente sanguínea. Para explorar o seu potencial, é importante avaliar a sua cinética e toxicidade, bem como definir o seu perfil bioquímico.
A enzima, denominada NicA2, é capaz de eliminar a nicotina antes desta estimular o sistema de recompensa do cérebro, que leva ao vício ou seja, à procura de cigarros. Contudo, fazer este tipo de enzima no laboratório tornou-se mais difícil do que o previsto.
Mas é certo que esta existe na natureza, dentro da bactéria que vive no solo, nos campos de tabaco. Nesta bactéria, denominada de Pseudomonas putida, a nicotina é usada como fonte de carbono e nitrogénio, sendo a NicA2, a enzima responsável por este processo.
Para testar se esta mesma enzima é capaz de degradar a nicotina no corpo, os investigadores combinaram soro de sangue rato com uma quantidade de nicotina, equivalente à presente num cigarro. Quando juntaram NicA2 a este cocktail, a meia- vida da nicotina foi reduzida drásticamente, entre 2 para 3 horas para 9 horas para 15 minutos.
A equipa sujeitou então a enzima NiA2 a temperaturas de 36,7 graus celsius durante 3 semanas e analisou se haveria a libertação de algum tipo de bioproduto tóxico à medida que esta ia degradando a nicotina. De modo a comprovar a eficácia da NiA2 ser usada como fármaco no corpo humano.
Os resultados foram encorajadores, comprovando-se que aumentando a dose de NicA2, a meia-vida da nicotina na circulação sanguínea reduzia.
É uma boa noticia para os fumadores que pretendem deixar de fumar, mas que até então não o conseguiram fazer com os métodos tradicionais.
Xue S., Schlosburg Joel E., Janda Kim D., A new Strategy for smoking cessation: Characterization of a Bacterial Enzyme for the Degradation of Nicotine. Journal of the American Chemical Society DOI: 10.1021/jacs.5b06605
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