Bioactivity of a peptide derived from acetylcholinesterase: involvement of an ivermectin-sensitive site on the alpha 7 nicotinic receptor

Neurobiol Dis. 2004 Jun;16(1):283-9. doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2004.02.009.


A peptide fragment of 14 amino acids, derived from the C-terminus of acetylcholinesterase (AChE), might underlie the now well-established noncholinergic effects of the enzyme. This peptide is bioactive in a variety of systems including acute (brain slices) and chronic (organotypic culture) preparations of hippocampus, a pivotal area in Alzheimer's disease (AD); invariably, the action of the peptide is mediated specifically via an as yet unknown receptor. In this study, the allosteric alpha 7 agent, ivermectin (IVM), had a modest inhibitory effect, whilst that of the peptide was significantly more marked. However, ivermectin rendered ineffective the toxicity of high doses of the peptide, that is, when the two were co-applied, only the smaller effects of ivermectin were seen. Ivermectin, therefore, is presumably acting at a site that is identical to, or at least strongly interactive with, the normal binding site for AChE-peptide. This observation could have important implications for eventual therapeutic targeting of the action of AChE-peptide, in neurodegeneration.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholinesterase / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Hippocampus / drug effects
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Ivermectin / metabolism
  • Ivermectin / pharmacology*
  • Organ Culture Techniques
  • Peptide Fragments / metabolism
  • Peptide Fragments / pharmacology*
  • Protein Binding / drug effects
  • Protein Binding / physiology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Receptors, Nicotinic / metabolism
  • Receptors, Nicotinic / physiology*
  • alpha7 Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor


  • Chrna7 protein, rat
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Receptors, Nicotinic
  • alpha7 Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor
  • Ivermectin
  • Acetylcholinesterase