Alteration in nicotine binding sites in Parkinson's disease, Lewy body dementia and Alzheimer's disease: possible index of early neuropathology.
ABSTRACT High-affinity nicotine binding, considered to primarily reflect the presence of CNS alpha 4 beta 2 nicotinic receptor subunits, was examined autoradiographically in brain regions most severely affected by Alzheimer and Parkinson types of pathology. In the midbrain, the high density of binding associated with the pars compacta of the substantia nigra was extensively reduced (65-75%, particularly in the lateral portion) in both Lewy body dementia and Parkinson's disease. Since loss of dopaminergic neurons in Lewy body dementia was only moderate (40%), loss or down-regulation of the nicotinic receptor may precede degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in this region. In the dorsolateral tegmentum, where diffuse cholinergic perikarya are located, nicotine binding was highly significantly decreased in both Lewy body dementia and Parkinson's disease with almost no overlap between the normal and disease groups, indicative of a major pathological involvement in or around the pedunculopontine cholinergic neurons. In the hippocampus, binding was decreased around the granular layer in Lewy body dementia and Alzheimer's disease, although unchanged in the stratum lacunosum moleculare, where binding was relatively higher. Dense bands of receptor binding in the presubiculum and parahippocampal gyrus--areas of highest binding in human cortex--were diminished in Alzheimer's disease but not Lewy body dementia. In temporal neocortex there were reductions in Alzheimer's disease throughout the cortical layers but in Lewy body dementia only in lower layers, in which Lewy bodies are concentrated. Abnormalities of the nicotinic receptor in the diseases examined appear to be closely associated with primary histopathological changes: dopaminergic cell loss in Parkinson's disease and Lewy body dementia, amyloid plaques and tangles in subicular and entorhinal areas in Alzheimer's disease. Loss or down-regulation of the receptor may precede neurodegeneration.
Article: GalantamineDrugs 01/2000; 60(5). · 4.13 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: In the central nervous system, deficits in cholinergic neurotransmission correlate with decreased attention and cognitive impairment, while stimulation of neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors improves attention, cognitive performance and neuronal resistance to injury as well as produces robust analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects. The rational basis for the therapeutic use of orthosteric agonists and positive allosteric modulators (PAMs) of nicotinic receptors arises from the finding that functional nicotinic receptors are ubiquitously expressed in neuronal and non-neuronal tissues including brain regions highly vulnerable to traumatic and ischemic types of injury (e.g., cortex and hippocampus). Moreover, functional nicotinic receptors do not vanish in age-, disease- and trauma-related neuropathologies, but their expression and/or activation levels decline in a subunit- and brain region-specific manner. Therefore, augmenting the endogenous cholinergic tone by nicotinic agents is possible and may offset neurological impairments associated with cholinergic hypofunction. Importantly, because neuronal damage elevates extracellular levels of choline (a selective agonist of α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors) near the site of injury, α7-PAM-based treatments may augment pathology-activated α7-dependent auto-therapies where and when they are most needed (i.e., in the penumbra, post-injury). Thus, the nicotinic-PAM-based treatments are expected to be highly efficacious with fewer side effects as compared to a more indiscriminate action of exogenous orthosteric agonists. In this review, I will summarize the existing trends in therapeutic applications of nicotinic PAMs.European journal of pharmacology 03/2014; · 2.59 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Central cholinergic system is critically involved in all known memory processes. Endogenous acetylcholine release by cholinergic neurons is necessary for modulation of acquisition, encoding, consolidation, reconsolidation, extinction, retrieval and expression. Experiments from our laboratory are mainly focused on elucidating the mechanisms by which acetylcholine modulates memory processes. Blockade of hippocampal alpha-7-nicotinic receptors (α7-nAChRs) with the antagonist methyllycaconitine impairs memory reconsolidation. However, the administration of a α7-nAChR agonist (choline) produce a paradoxical modulation, causing memory enhancement in mice trained with a weak footshock, but memory impairment in animals trained with a strong footshock. All these effects are long-lasting, and depend on the age of the memory trace. This review summarizes and discusses some of our recent findings, particularly regarding the involvement of α7-nAChRs on memory reconsolidation.Journal of Physiology-Paris 09/2014; · 2.35 Impact Factor