Enhancement of alpha7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) activity is considered a therapeutic approach for ameliorating cognitive deficits present in Alzheimer's disease and schizophrenia. In this study, we describe the in vitro profile of a novel selective alpha7 nAChR agonist, 5-(6-[(3R)-1-azabicyclo[2,2,2]oct-3-yloxy]pyridazin-3-yl)-1H-indole (ABT-107). ABT-107 displayed high affinity binding to alpha7 nAChRs [rat or human cortex, [(3)H](1S,4S)-2,2-dimethyl-5-(6-phenylpyridazin-3-yl)-5-aza-2-azoniabicyclo[2.2.1]heptane (A-585539), K(i) = 0.2-0.6 nM or [(3)H]methyllycaconitine (MLA), 7 nM] that was at least 100-fold selective versus non-alpha7 nAChRs and other receptors. Functionally, ABT-107 did not evoke detectible currents in Xenopus oocytes expressing human or nonhuman alpha3beta4, chimeric (alpha6/alpha3)beta4, or 5-HT(3A) receptors, and weak or negligible Ca(2+) responses in human neuroblastoma IMR-32 cells (alpha3* function) and human alpha4beta2 and alpha4beta4 nAChRs expressed in human embryonic kidney 293 cells. ABT-107 potently evoked human and rat alpha7 nAChR current responses in oocytes (EC(50), 50-90 nM total charge, approximately 80% normalized to acetylcholine) that were enhanced by the positive allosteric modulator (PAM) 4-[5-(4-chloro-phenyl)-2-methyl-3-propionyl-pyrrol-1-yl]-benzenesulfonamide (A-867744). In rat hippocampus, ABT-107 alone evoked alpha7-like currents, which were inhibited by the alpha7 antagonist MLA. In dentate gyrus granule cells, ABT-107 enhanced spontaneous inhibitory postsynaptic current activity when coapplied with A-867744. In the presence of an alpha7 PAM [A-867744 or N-[(3R)-1-azabicyclo[2.2.2]oct-3-yl]-4-chlorobenzamide hydrochloride (PNU-120596)], the addition of ABT-107 elicited MLA-sensitive alpha7 nAChR-mediated Ca(2+) signals in IMR-32 cells and rat cortical cultures and enhanced extracellular signal-regulated kinase phosphorylation in differentiated PC-12 cells. ABT-107 was also effective in protecting rat cortical cultures against glutamate-induced toxicity. In summary, ABT-107 is a selective high affinity alpha7 nAChR agonist suitable for characterizing the roles of this subtype in pharmacological studies.