Nicotinic α7- or β2-containing receptor knockout: Effects on radial-arm maze learning and long-term nicotine consumption in mice

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.
Behavioural brain research (Impact Factor: 3.39). 10/2008; 196(2):207-13. DOI: 10.1016/j.bbr.2008.08.048
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Classically, it has been thought that high-affinity nicotinic receptors-containing beta2 subunits are the most important receptor subtypes for nicotinic involvement in cognitive function and nicotine self-administration, while low affinity alpha7-containing nicotinic receptors have not been thought to be important. In the current study, we found that knockout of either beta2 or alpha7 subunits caused significant deficits in spatial discrimination in mice. The character of the impairment in the two knockouts was different. The beta2 knockout preferentially impaired cognition in males while the alpha7 caused impairment regardless of sex. Both beta2- and alpha7-containing nicotinic receptors also are important for nicotine self-administration, also in different ways. Most animal model studies of nicotine self-administration are relatively short-term whereas the problem of tobacco addiction is considerably longer-term. To better model the impact of nicotinic receptor subtypes on nicotine self-administration over the long-term, we studied the impact of genetic knockout of low affinity alpha7 receptors vs. high-affinity beta2-containing nicotinic receptors. Mice with knockouts of either of these receptors and their wildtype counter parts were given free access to a choice of nicotine-containing and nicotine-free solution in their home cages on a continuous basis over a period of 5 months. During the first few weeks, the beta2-containing nicotinic receptor knockout mice showed a significant decrease in nicotine consumption relative to wildtype mice, whereas the alpha7 knockout mice did not significantly differ from wildtype controls at the beginning of their access to nicotine. Interestingly, in the longer-term after the first few weeks of nicotine access, the beta2 knockout mice returned to wildtype mouse levels of nicotine consumption, whereas the alpha7 knockout mice developed an emergent decrease in nicotine consumption. The alpha7 receptor knockout-induced decrease in nicotine consumption persisted for the 5-month period of the study. Both alpha7- and beta2-containing nicotinic receptors play critical roles in cognitive function and nicotine self-administration. Regarding cognitive function, beta2-containing receptors are important for maintaining normal sex differences in spatial learning and memory, whereas alpha7 receptors are important for cognitive function regardless of sex. Regarding nicotine self-administration high-affinity beta2-containing nicotinic receptors are important for consumption during the initial phase of nicotine access, but it is the alpha7 nicotinic receptors that are important for the longer-term regulation of nicotine consumption.

Download full-text


Available from: Amir H Rezvani, Oct 13, 2014
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Acetylcholine (ACh) release onto nicotinic receptors directly activates subsets of inhibitory interneurons in hippocampal CA1. However, the specific interneurons activated and their effect on the hippocampal network is not completely understood. Therefore, we investigated subsets of hippocampal CA1 interneurons that respond to ACh release through the activation of nicotinic receptors and the potential downstream effects this may have on hippocampal CA1 network function. ACh was optogenetically released in mouse hippocampal slices by expressing the excitatory optogenetic protein oChIEF-tdTomato in medial septum/diagonal band of Broca cholinergic neurons using Cre recombinase-dependent adeno-associated viral mediated transfection. The actions of optogenetically released ACh were assessed on both pyramidal neurons and different interneuron subtypes via whole cell patch clamp methods. Vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP)-expressing interneurons that selectively innervate other interneurons (VIP/IS) were excited by ACh through the activation of nicotinic receptors containing alpah4 and beta2 subunits (alpha4 beta2*). ACh release onto VIP/IS was presynaptically inhibited by M2 muscarinic autoreceptors. ACh release produced spontaneous inhibitory postsynaptic current (sIPSC) barrages blocked by dihydro-beta-erythroidine in interneurons but not pyramidal neurons. Optogenetic suppression of VIP interneurons did not inhibit these sIPSC barrages suggesting other interneuron-selective interneurons were also excited by 42* nicotinic receptor activation. In contrast, interneurons that innervate pyramidal neuron perisomatic regions were not activated by ACh release onto nicotinic receptors. Therefore, we propose ACh release in CA1 facilitates disinhibition through activation of 42* nicotinic receptors on interneuron-selective interneurons whereas interneurons that innervate pyramidal neurons are less affected by nicotinic receptor activation.
    Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience 04/2015; 9. DOI:10.3389/fncel.2015.00115 · 4.18 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Dysfunction of cortical parvalbumin (PV)-containing GABAergic interneurons has been implicated in cognitive deficits of schizophrenia. In humans microdeletion of the CHRNA7 (α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor, nAChR) gene is associated with cortical dysfunction in a broad spectrum of neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders including schizophrenia while in mice similar deletion causes analogous abnormalities including impaired attention, working-memory and learning. However, the pathophysiological roles of α7 nAChRs in cortical PV GABAergic development remain largely uncharacterized. In both in vivo and in vitro models, we identify here that deletion of the α7 nAChR gene in mice impairs cortical PV GABAergic development and recapitulates many of the characteristic neurochemical deficits in PV-positive GABAergic interneurons found in schizophrenia. α7 nAChR null mice had decreased cortical levels of GABAergic markers including PV, Glutamic Acid Decarboxylase 65/67 (GAD65/67) and the α1 subunit of GABAA receptors, particularly reductions of PV and GAD67 levels in cortical PV-positive interneurons during late postnatal life and adulthood. Cortical GABAergic synaptic deficits were identified in the prefrontal cortex of α7 nAChR null mice and α7 nAChR null cortical cultures. Similar disruptions in development of PV-positive GABAergic interneurons and perisomatic synapses were found in cortical cultures lacking α7 nAChRs. Moreover, NMDA receptor expression was reduced in GABAergic interneurons, implicating NMDA receptor hypofunction in GABAergic deficits in α7 nAChR null mice. Our findings thus demonstrate impaired cortical PV GABAergic development and multiple characteristic neurochemical deficits reminiscent of schizophrenia in cortical PV-positive interneurons in α7 nAChR gene deletion models. This implicates crucial roles of α7 nAChRs in cortical PV GABAergic development and dysfunction in schizophrenia and other neuropsychiatric disorders.
    Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience 06/2014; 61. DOI:10.1016/j.mcn.2014.06.007 · 3.73 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Alpha 7 (α7) nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (α7-nAChR) is one of most high expressed nAChR subtypes in the brain. The activation of nAChRs enhances animal cognitive, learning and memory abilities. However, the role of genetic knockout (KO) of α7-nAChRs in animal cognition-associated behaviors is still obscure. An early report showed that α7-nAChR KO mice did not exhibit behavioral phenotypes, concerning the roles of α7-nAChRs in normal, cognition-associated behaviors. Later, α7-nAChR KO mice were found a deficit in animal spatial discrimination. The roles of α7-nAChRs in the alterations of hippocampal synaptic function during aging process are largely unknown. Here, we address this question by examining synaptic function using field potential recording in hippocampal slice preparations from adult (12-14 months old) and aged (22-24 months old) α7-nAChR KO and age-matched wild-type (WT) mice. We found that compared to aged WT mice, aged α7-nAChR KO mice exhibited significantly reduced size of evoked field synaptic potential and impaired long-term potentiation (LTP) in hippocampal CA3-CA1 synapses. However, adult α7-nAChR KO mice did not show a clear deficit in LTP although the basic synaptic transmission was also reduced compared to adult WT mice. In both age groups, there was no significant difference of paired-pulse facilitation between α7-nAChR KO and WT mice. Collectively, this study provides direct evidence, for the first time, that the impaired synaptic function occurs in aged α7-nAChR KO mice, suggesting an importance of α7-nAChRs in maintaining cognitive function during aging process.
    Neuroscience Letters 04/2014; 570. DOI:10.1016/j.neulet.2014.04.018 · 2.06 Impact Factor