Variation of nicotinic binding sites among inbred strains

Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1989 Jul;33(3):679-89. doi: 10.1016/0091-3057(89)90407-3.


The specific binding of L-nicotine and alpha-bungarotoxin, two ligands which label different populations of putative nicotinic receptors, was determined in eight brain regions of 19 inbred mouse strains. The dissociation constants for L-nicotine (average = 2.26 nM) and alpha-bungarotoxin (average = 0.31 nM) did not vary significantly among the brain regions or strains. In contrast, significant variability among the maximal binding sites was observed between regions and among the strains within a region. Significant differences in L-nicotine binding were observed among the strains in midbrain, hindbrain, hippocampus, hypothalamus and colliculi, while little variability was noted in cortex or cerebellum. In general, those strains that had high L-nicotine binding in one region had high nicotine binding in the other regions. The strains clustered into two large groups: one group expressing relatively low binding and a second group expressing relatively high binding. Significant differences in alpha-bungarotoxin binding were observed in seven of the eight regions measured and, in general, those strains with high binding in one region tended to have high binding in the other regions. The strains clustered into three groups: those with low binding (DBA/1 and DBA/2), those with high binding (ST/b alone) and those with intermediate binding (the remaining 16 strains). The amount of binding of the two ligands did not correlate with each other. Comparison of nicotinic ligand binding with physiological response to nicotine suggests a relationship of L-nicotine binding with several responses observed after injection of low doses of nicotine and a relationship between alpha-bungarotoxin binding and nicotine-induced seizures.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Brain Chemistry*
  • Bungarotoxins / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains / genetics*
  • Mice, Inbred Strains / metabolism
  • Nicotine / metabolism*
  • Pharmacogenetics
  • Receptors, Nicotinic / analysis*
  • Receptors, Nicotinic / classification
  • Receptors, Nicotinic / genetics


  • Bungarotoxins
  • Receptors, Nicotinic
  • Nicotine