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Review
, 28 (7), 767-781

Revisiting Nicotine's Role in the Ageing Brain and Cognitive Impairment

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Review

Revisiting Nicotine's Role in the Ageing Brain and Cognitive Impairment

Alireza Majdi et al. Rev Neurosci.

Abstract

Brain ageing is a complex process which in its pathologic form is associated with learning and memory dysfunction or cognitive impairment. During ageing, changes in cholinergic innervations and reduced acetylcholinergic tonus may trigger a series of molecular pathways participating in oxidative stress, excitotoxicity, amyloid-β toxicity, apoptosis, neuroinflammation, and perturb neurotrophic factors in the brain. Nicotine is an exogenous agonist of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) and acts as a pharmacological chaperone in the regulation of nAChR expression, potentially intervening in age-related changes in diverse molecular pathways leading to pathology. Although nicotine has therapeutic potential, paradoxical effects have been reported, possibly due to its inverted U-shape dose-response effects or pharmacokinetic factors. Additionally, nicotine administration should result in optimum therapeutic effects without imparting abuse potential or toxicity. Overall, this review aims to compile the previous and most recent data on nicotine and its effects on cognition-related mechanisms and age-related cognitive impairment.

Keywords: ageing; cognition; nicotine; therapy; toxicity.

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