Loss of nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subunits alpha4 and alpha7 in the cerebral cortex of Parkinson patients

Parkinsonism Relat Disord. 2003 Jun;9(5):243-6. doi: 10.1016/s1353-8020(03)00028-2.


Cerebral cortical cholinergic deficits, represented by a decrease in choline acetyltransferase activity, severe losses of nicotinic binding sites as well as cell degeneration in the basal forebrain can be observed in neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease. The potential role of nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subunits as pharmacological targets for the treatment of cognitive deficits raises the question as to what extent these subunits are affected in neurodegenerative diseases. We here report on a significant decrease of the alpha4 and the alpha7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subunit in cortices of Parkinson patients which turns out to be similar to recent findings in Alzheimer patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cerebral Cortex / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinson Disease / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Nicotinic / metabolism*
  • alpha7 Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor


  • Chrna7 protein, human
  • Receptors, Nicotinic
  • alpha7 Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor
  • nicotinic acetylcholine receptor alpha4 subunit