Cigarette smoking has long been recognized as a risk factor for type 2 diabetes (T2D), although the precise causal mechanisms underlying this relationship remain poorly understood. Recent evidence suggests that nicotine, the primary reinforcing component in tobacco, may play a pivotal role in connecting cigarette smoking and T2D. Extensive research conducted in both humans and animals has demonstrated that nicotine can elevate blood glucose levels, disrupt glucose homeostasis, and induce insulin resistance. The review aims to elucidate the genetic variants of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors associated with diabetes risk and provide a comprehensive overview of the available data on the mechanisms through which nicotine influences blood glucose homeostasis and the development of diabetes. Here we emphasize the central and peripheral actions of nicotine on the release of glucoregulatory hormones, as well as its effects on glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity. Notably, the central actions of nicotine within the brain, which encompass both insulin-dependent and independent mechanisms, are highlighted as potential targets for intervention strategies in diabetes management.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106860
JournalPharmacological Research
StatePublished - Aug 2023


  • Central-peripheral interactions
  • Glucoregulatory hormones
  • Nicotine addiction
  • Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors
  • Type 2 diabetes


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