Neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors: a new target site of ethanol

Neurochem Int. 1999 Aug;35(2):131-41. doi: 10.1016/s0197-0186(99)00055-8.


Whereas a variety of neuroreceptors and ion channels have been demonstrated to be affected by ethanol including GABAA receptors, NMDA receptors, non-NMDA glutamate receptors, 5-HT3 receptors and voltage-gated calcium channels, neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nnAChRs) have recently emerged as a new target site of ethanol. The nnAChRs are different from the muscle type nicotinic AChRs with respect to their molecular architecture and pharmacology. This article briefly reviews the structure, distribution and function of nnAChRs for which a considerable amount of information has been rapidly accumulated during the past 5-10 years. The potent and unique action of ethanol on nnAChRs has been unveiled only during the past few years. Most recent developments along this line of ethanol action are discussed in this paper.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Ethanol / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Neurons / drug effects*
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Receptors, Nicotinic / drug effects*


  • Receptors, Nicotinic
  • Ethanol