Nicotinic receptors modulate transmitter cross talk in the CNS: nicotinic modulation of transmitters

J Mol Neurosci. 2006;30(1-2):137-40. doi: 10.1385/JMN:30:1:137.


Neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) in the CNS appear to exert a predominantly modulatory influence on brain mechanisms, despite being fast-acting ligand-gated ion channels. Many nAChRs have an extrasynaptic location on somatodendritic regions or presynaptic terminals. They influence local excitability by depolarization and can initiate short- and long-term changes by interfacing with Ca2+ signaling pathways (Dajas- Bailador and Wonnacott, 2004). The modulation of neurotransmitter release by presynaptic nAChRs is well-documented (Wonnacott, 1997): Both Na+ and Ca2+ fluxes associated with nAChR activation can influence transmitter release. It is also emerging that nAChRs, especially the alpha7 subtype, can exert an indirect effect on transmitter release, through modulation of amino acid transmitters. This complex scenario facilitates transmitter cross talk, which is the subject of this short review.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Corpus Striatum / physiology*
  • Glutamine / physiology
  • Hippocampus / drug effects
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Receptor Cross-Talk / physiology*
  • Receptors, Nicotinic / physiology*
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / physiology


  • Receptors, Nicotinic
  • Glutamine
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid