Nicotine, brain nicotinic receptors, and neuropsychiatric disorders

Arch Med Res. Mar-Apr 2000;31(2):131-44. doi: 10.1016/s0188-4409(99)00087-9.

Abstract

Neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) represent a large family of ligand-gated cation channels with diverse structures and properties. In contrast to the muscular nAChRs, the physiological functions of neuronal nAChRs are not well defined to date. Behavioral studies indicate that brain nAChRs participate in complex functions such as attention, memory, and cognition, whereas clinical data suggest their involvement in the pathogenesis of certain neuropsychiatric disorders (Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, Tourette's syndrome, schizophrenia, depression, etc.). For the majority of these disorders, the use of nAChRs' agonists may represent either a prophylactic (especially for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases) or a symptomatic treatment. The possible mechanisms underlying these beneficial effects as well as the characteristics and potential therapeutic use of new, subtype-selective nAChRs agonists are presented.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alzheimer Disease / drug therapy
  • Animals
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / drug therapy
  • Brain / drug effects*
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Depression / drug therapy
  • Dopamine / metabolism
  • Drug Interactions
  • Epilepsies, Partial / drug therapy
  • Epilepsies, Partial / genetics
  • Humans
  • Ion Channel Gating / drug effects
  • Mental Disorders / drug therapy
  • Mental Disorders / etiology
  • Mental Disorders / metabolism*
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / metabolism
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / pharmacology
  • Nicotine / administration & dosage
  • Nicotine / adverse effects
  • Nicotine / agonists
  • Nicotine / pharmacology*
  • Nicotine / therapeutic use
  • Parkinson Disease / drug therapy
  • Parkinson Disease / prevention & control
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Nicotinic / drug effects
  • Receptors, Nicotinic / physiology*
  • Schizophrenia / drug therapy
  • Self Medication
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / metabolism
  • Tourette Syndrome / drug therapy

Substances

  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • Receptors, Nicotinic
  • Nicotine
  • Dopamine