Dual effects of nicotine on dopamine neurons mediated by different nicotinic receptor subtypes.
ABSTRACT Burst firing of dopaminergic neurons has been found to represent a particularly effective means of increasing dopamine release in terminal areas as well as activating immediate early genes in dopaminoceptive cells. Spontaneous burst firing is largely controlled by the level of activation of NMDA receptors in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) as a consequence of glutamate released from afferents arising mainly in the prefrontal cortex. Nicotine has been found to effectively increase burst firing of dopaminergic cells. This effect of nicotine may be due to an alpha 7 nicotinic receptor-mediated presynaptic facilitation of glutamate release in the VTA. By the use of in-vivo single-cell recordings and immunohistochemistry we here evaluated the role of alpha 7 nicotinic receptors in nicotine-induced burst firing of dopamine cells in the VTA and the subsequent activation of immediate early genes in dopaminoceptive target areas. Nicotine (0.5 mg/kg s.c.) was found to increase firing rate and burst firing of dopaminergic neurons. In the presence of methyllycaconitine (MLA, 6.0 mg/kg i.p.) nicotine only increased firing rate. Moreover, in the presence of dihydro-beta-erythroidine (DH beta E, 1.0 mg/kg i.p.), an antagonist at non-alpha 7 nicotinic receptors, nicotine produced an increase in burst firing without increasing the firing rate. Nicotine also increased Fos-like immunoreactivity in dopamine target areas, an effect that was antagonized with MLA but not with DH beta E. Our data suggest that nicotine's augmenting effect on burst firing is, indeed, due to stimulation of alpha 7 nicotinic receptors whereas other nicotinic receptors seem to induce an increase in firing frequency.
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ABSTRACT: Nicotine alters appetite and energy expenditure, leading to changes in body weight. While the exact mechanisms underlying these effects are not fully established, both central and peripheral involvement of the alpha-7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (α7nAChR) has been suggested. Centrally, the α7nAChR modulates activity of hypothalamic neurons involved in food intake regulation, including proopiomelanocortin and neuropeptide Y. α7nAChRs also modulate glutamatergic and dopaminergic systems controlling reward processes that affect food intake. Additionally, α7nAChRs are important peripheral mediators of chronic inflammation, a key contributor to health problems in obesity. This review focuses on nicotinic cholinergic effects on eating behaviors, specifically those involving the α7nAChR, with the hypothesis that α7nAChR agonism leads to appetite suppression. Recent studies are highlighted that identify links between α7nAChR expression and obesity, insulin resistance, and diabetes and describe early findings showing an α7nAChR agonist to be associated with reduced weight gain in a mouse model of diabetes. Given these effects, the α7nAChR may be a useful therapeutic target for strategies to treat and manage obesity.Frontiers in Psychology 01/2014; 5:553. · 2.80 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Exposure to environmental stimuli conditioned to nicotine consumption critically contributes to the high relapse rates of tobacco smoking. Our previous work demonstrated that non-selective blockade of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) reversed the cue-induced reinstatement of nicotine seeking, indicating a role for cholinergic neurotransmission in the mediation of the conditioned incentive properties of nicotine cues. The present study further examined the relative roles of the two major nAChR subtypes, α4β2 and α7, in the cue-induced reinstatement of nicotine seeking. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were trained to intravenously self-administer nicotine (0.03 mg/kg/infusion, free base) on a fixed-ratio 5 schedule of reinforcement. A nicotine-conditioned cue was established by associating a sensory stimulus with each nicotine infusion. After nicotine-maintained responding was extinguished by withholding the nicotine infusion and its paired cue, reinstatement test sessions were conducted with re-presentation of the cue but without the availability of nicotine. Thirty minutes before the tests, the rats were administered the α4β2-selective antagonist dihydro-β-erythroidine (DHβE) and α7-selective antagonist methyllycaconitine (MLA). Pretreatment with MLA, but not DHβE, significantly reduced the magnitude of the cue-induced reinstatement of responses on the active, previously nicotine-reinforced lever. In different sets of rats, MLA altered neither nicotine self-administration nor cue-induced reinstatement of food seeking. These results demonstrate that activation of α7 nAChRs participates in the mediation of the conditioned incentive properties of nicotine cues and suggest that α7 nAChRs may be a promising target for the development of medications for the prevention of cue-induced smoking relapse.The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology 08/2013; · 5.64 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Alpha7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (α7nAChRs) mediate nicotine-induced burst-firing of dopamine neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA), a limbic brain region critically involved in reward and in dopamine D2 receptor (D2R)-related cortical dysfunctions associated with psychosis. The known presence of α7nAChRs and Gi-coupled D2Rs in dopamine neurons of the VTA suggests that these receptors are targeted to at least some of the same neurons in this brain region. To test this hypothesis, we used electron microscopic immunolabeling of antisera against peptide sequences of α7nACh and D2 receptors in the mouse VTA. Dual D2R and α7nAChR labeling was seen in many of the same somata (colocalization over 97%) and dendrites (co-localization over 49%), where immunoreactivity for each of the receptors was localized to endomembranes as well as to non-synaptic or synaptic plasma membranes often near excitatory-type synapses. In comparison with somata and dendrites, many more small axons and axon terminals were separately labeled for each of the receptors. Thus, single-labeled axon terminals were predominant for both α7nAChR (57.9%) and D2R (89.0%). The majority of the immunolabeled axonal profiles contained D2R-immunoreactivity (81.6%) and formed either symmetric or asymmetric synapses consistent with involvement in release of both inhibitory and excitatory transmitters. Of 160 D2R-labeled terminals, 81.2% were presynaptic to dendrites that expressed α7nAChR alone or together with the D2R. Numerous glial processes inclusive of those enveloping either excitatory- or inhibitory-type synapses contained also single labeling for D2R (n=152) and α7nAChR (n=561). These results suggest that classic antipsychotic drugs, all of which block the D2R, may facilitate α7nAChR-mediated burst-firing by elimination of D2R-dependent inhibition in neurons expressing both receptors as well as by indirect pre-synaptic and glial mechanisms.Neuroscience 08/2013; · 3.12 Impact Factor