Cytisine reduces the loss of dopamine neurons in women, and thus, it can improve or stop Parkinson's disease in women, scientists from the Texas A&M University noted.
Strange as it may seem, it will reduce the risk of this disease in smokers, Medical Express reports.
Cytisine is similar to nicotine in terms of binding to target receptors. Its effect was tested in an animal model of the disease: in the course of the study, scientists artificially caused Parkinson's disease and gave the rodents either saline or cytisine.
The researchers conducted a series of behavioral experiments. It turned out that cytisine produces a protective effect both in terms of reducing the decrease in behavioral abnormalities characteristic of Parkinson's disease and in terms of reducing the number of dead dopamine neurons.
However, the protective effect of cytisine was only seen in females - the combination of cytisine and estrogen (a female sex hormone) provided stronger protection.