[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) are the molecular target of nicotine. nAChRs in the medial habenula (MHb) have recently been shown to play a role in nicotine dependence, but it is not clear which nAChR subtypes or MHb neuron types are most important. To identify MHb nAChRs and/or cell types that play a role in nicotine dependence, we studied these receptors and cells with brain slice electrophysiology using both acute and chronic nicotine application. Cells in ventroinferior and ventrolateral MHb (MHbVI and MHbVL) subregions expressed functional nAChRs with different pharmacology. Further, application of nicotine to cells in these subregions led to different action potential firing patterns. The latter result was correlated with a differing ability of nicotine to induce nAChR desensitization. Chronic nicotine caused functional up-regulation of nAChRs selectively in MHbVI cells but did not change nAChR function in MHbVL. Importantly, firing responses were also differentially altered in these subregions following chronic nicotine. MHbVI neurons treated chronically with nicotine exhibited enhanced basal pacemaker firing but a blunted nicotine-induced firing response. MHbVL neurons did not change their firing properties in response to chronic nicotine. Together, these results suggest that acute and chronic nicotine differentially affect nAChR function and output of cells in MHb subregions. Because the MHb extensively innervates the interpeduncular nucleus (IPN), an area critical for both affective and somatic signs of withdrawal, these results could reflect some of the neurophysiological changes thought to occur in the MHb to IPN circuit in human smokers.
Preview · Article · Oct 2015 · Molecular pharmacology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The mesolimbic dopamine system, originating in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and projecting to the nucleus accumbens (NAc), has been heavily implicated in the reinforcing effects of ethanol. Recent slice voltammetry studies have shown that ethanol inhibits dopamine release selectively during high-frequency activity that elicits phasic dopamine release shown to be important for learning and reinforcement. Presently, we examined ethanol inhibition of electrically evoked NAc dopamine in two mouse strains with divergent dopamine responses to ethanol, C57BL/6 (C57) and DBA/2J (DBA) mice. Previous electrophysiology and microdialysis studies have demonstrated greater ethanol-induced VTA dopaminergic firing and NAc dopamine elevations in DBA compared to C57 mice. Additionally, DBA mice have greater ethanol responses in dopamine-related behaviors, including hyperlocomotion and conditioned place preference. Currently, we demonstrate greater sensitivity of ethanol inhibition of NAc dopamine signaling in C57 compared to DBA mice. The reduced sensitivity to ethanol inhibition in DBA mice may contribute to the overall greater ethanol-induced dopamine signaling and related behaviors observed in this strain. NAc cholinergic activity is known to potently modulate terminal dopamine release. Additionally, ethanol is known to interact with multiple aspects of nicotinic acetylcholine receptor activity. Therefore, we examined ethanol-mediated inhibition of dopamine release at two ethanol concentrations (80 and 160 mM) during bath application of the non-selective nicotinic receptor antagonist mecamylamine, as well as compounds selective for the β2-(dihydro-β-erythroidine hydrobromide; DhβE) and α6-(α-conotoxin MII [H9A; L15A]) subunit-containing receptors. Mecamylamine and DhβE decreased dopamine release and reduced ethanol’s inhibitory effects on dopamine in both DBA and C57 mice. Further, α-conotoxin also reduced the dopamine release and the dopamine-inhibiting effects of ethanol at the 80 mM, but not 160 mM, concentration. These data suggest that ethanol is acting in part through nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, or downstream effectors, to reduce dopamine release during high-frequency activity.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neuropathic pain affects millions of people worldwide causing substantial disability and greatly impairing quality of life. Commonly used analgesics or anti-hyperalgesic compounds are generally characterized by limited therapeutic outcomes. Thus, there is a compelling need for novel therapeutic strategies able to prevent nervous tissue alterations responsible for chronic pain. The α9α10 nAChR antagonist α-conotoxin RgIA (RgIA), a peptide isolated from the venom of a carnivorous cone snail, induces relief in both acute and chronic pain models. To evaluate potential disease-modifying effects of RgIA, the compound was given to rats following chronic constriction injury (CCI) of the sciatic nerve. Two or 10 nmol RgIA injected intramuscularly once a day for 14 days reduced the painful response to suprathreshold stimulation, increased pain threshold to non-noxious stimuli, and normalized alterations in hind limb weight bearing. Histological analysis of the sciatic nerve revealed that RgIA prevented CCI-induced decreases of axonal compactness and diameter, loss of myelin sheath and decreases in the fiber number. Moreover, RgIA significantly reduced edema and inflammatory infiltrate, including a decrease of CD86(+) macrophages. In L4-L5 dorsal root ganglia, RgIA prevented morphometric changes and reduced the inflammatory infiltrate consistent with a disease-modifying effect. In the dorsal horn of the spinal cord, RgIA prevented CCI-induced activation of microglia and astrocytes. These data suggest that RgIA-like compounds may represent a novel class of therapeutics for neuropathic pain that protects peripheral nervous tissues as well as prevents central maladaptive plasticity by inhibiting glial cell activation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background and purpose:
Recent data have indicated that α3β4* neuronal nicotinic (n) ACh receptors may play a role in morphine dependence. Here we investigated if nACh receptors modulate morphine physical withdrawal.
To assess the role of α3β4* nACh receptors in morphine withdrawal, we used a genetic correlation approach using publically available datasets within the GeneNetwork web resource, genetic knockout and pharmacological tools. Male and female European-American (n = 2772) and African-American (n = 1309) subjects from the Study of Addiction: Genetics and Environment dataset were assessed for possible associations of polymorphisms in the 15q25 gene cluster and opioid dependence.
BXD recombinant mouse lines demonstrated an increased expression of α3, β4 and α5 nACh receptor mRNA in the forebrain and midbrain, which significantly correlated with increased defecation in mice undergoing morphine withdrawal. Mice overexpressing the gene cluster CHRNA5/A3/B4 exhibited increased somatic signs of withdrawal. Furthermore, α5 and β4 nACh receptor knockout mice expressed decreased somatic withdrawal signs compared with their wild-type counterparts. Moreover, selective α3β4* nACh receptor antagonists, α-conotoxin AuIB and AT-1001, attenuated somatic signs of morphine withdrawal in a dose-related manner. In addition, two human datasets revealed a protective role for variants in the CHRNA3 gene, which codes for the α3 nACh receptor subunit, in opioid dependence and withdrawal. In contrast, we found that the α4β2* nACh receptor subtype is not involved in morphine somatic withdrawal signs.
Conclusion and implications:
Overall, our findings suggest an important role for the α3β4* nACh receptor subtype in morphine physical dependence.
Full-text · Article · Apr 2014 · British Journal of Pharmacology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Electrophysiology and microdialysis studies have provided compelling evidence that moderate-to-high ethanol concentrations enhance dopamine (DA) neurotransmission in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) through the mesolimbic DA system. However, with fast scan cyclic voltammetry (FSCV), acute exposure to moderate-high doses of ethanol decreases evoked DA release at terminals in the NAc. The aim of this study was to evaluate the involvement of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) in modulating the effects of ethanol on DA release in the NAc of C57BL/6 mice ex vivo and in vivo. Local stimulation evoked robust, frequency-dependent DA release in the NAc slice preparation, with maximal release at 40 Hz in the shell and 20 Hz in the core. Nicotine decreased DA release in a concentration-dependent (0.01 - 10 μM) manner in the shell and core with an IC50 of 0.1 μM ex vivo and 0.5 mg/kg in vivo. Nicotine and ethanol inhibition of DA release was blocked by the α6*-nAChR antagonist α-conotoxins CtxMII or α-CtxMII [H9A; L15A] ex vivo (100 nM) in the core, but not the shell. Furthermore, the non-specific nAChR antagonist mecamylamine (2 mg/kg) blocked the effects of ethanol in the core in vivo. These findings suggest that DA release is inhibited by ethanol via nAChRs in the NAc, and that DA modulation by nAChRs differ in the core vs. the shell, with α6*-nAChRs affecting DA release in the core, but not in the shell.
No preview · Article · Mar 2014 · Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, and lung infections are major causes of morbidity and mortality among HIV-infected patients even in the era of antiretroviral therapy (ART). Many of these diseases are strongly associated with smoking and smoking is more common among HIV-infected than uninfected people; however, HIV is an independent risk factor for chronic bronchitis, COPD, and asthma. The mechanism by which HIV promotes these diseases is unclear. Excessive airway mucus formation is a characteristic of these diseases and contributes to airway obstruction and lung infections. HIV gp120 plays a critical role in several HIV-related pathologies and we investigated whether HIV gp120 promoted airway mucus formation in normal human bronchial epithelial (NHBE) cells. We found that NHBE cells expressed the HIV-coreceptor CXCR4 but not CCR5 and produced mucus in response to CXCR4-tropic gp120. The gp120-induced mucus formation was blocked by the inhibitors of CXCR4, α7-nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (α7-nAChR), and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA)AR but not the antagonists of CCR5 and epithelial growth factor receptor (EGFR). These results identify two distinct pathways (α7-nAChR-GABAAR and EGFR) for airway mucus formation and demonstrate for the first time that HIV-gp120 induces and regulates mucus formation in the airway epithelial cells through the CXCR4-α7-nAChR-GABAAR pathway. Interestingly, lung sections from HIV ± ART and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) ± ART have significantly more mucus and gp120-immunoreactivity than control lung sections from humans and macaques, respectively. Thus, even after ART, lungs from HIV-infected patients contain significant amounts of gp120 and mucus that may contribute to the higher incidence of obstructive pulmonary diseases in this population.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) containing the α9 subunit are expressed in a wide variety of non-neuronal tissues ranging from immune cells to breast carcinomas. The α9 subunit is able to assemble into a functional homomeric nAChR and also co-assemble with the α10 subunit into functional heteromeric nAChRs. Despite the increasing awareness of the important roles of this subunit in vertebrates, the study of human α9-containing nAChRs has been severely limited by difficulties in its expression in heterologous systems. In Xenopus laevis oocytes, functional expression of human α9α10 nAChRs is very low compared to that of rat α9α10 nAChRs. When oocytes were co-injected with cRNA of α9 and α10 subunits of human versus those of rat, oocytes with the rat α9 human α10 combination had an ∼-fold higher level of acetylcholine-gated currents (IACh) than those with the human α9 rat α10 combination, suggesting difficulties with human α9 expression. When the ratio of injected human α9 cRNA to human α10 cRNA was increased from 1∶1 to 5∶1, IACh increased 36-fold (from 142±23 nA to 5171±748 nA). Functional expression of human α9-containing receptors in oocytes was markedly improved by appending the 5'-untranslated region of alfalfa mosaic virus RNA4 to the 5'-leader sequence of the α9 subunit cRNA. This increased the functional expression of homomeric human α9 receptors by 70-fold (from 7±1 nA to 475±158 nA) and of human α9α10 heteromeric receptors by 80-fold (from 113±62 nA to 9192±1137 nA). These findings indicate the importance of the composition of the 5' untranslated leader sequence for expression of α9-containing nAChRs.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Rationale
Phasic dopamine (DA) signaling underlies reward learning. Cholinergic and glutamatergic inputs into the ventral tegmental area (VTA) are crucial for modulating burst firing activity and subsequent phasic DA release in the nucleus accumbens (NAc), but the specific VTA nicotinic receptor subtypes that regulate phasic DA release have not been identified.
The goal was to determine the role of VTA N-methyl-d-aspartate receptors (NMDARs) and specific subtypes of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) in regulating phasic DA release in the NAc core.
Fast-scan cyclic voltammetry in anesthetized rats was combined with intra-VTA micro-infusion to evaluate the ability of glutamatergic and cholinergic drugs to modulate stimulated phasic DA release in the NAc core.
VTA NMDAR blockade with AP-5 decreased, while VTA NMDAR activation with NMDA increased NAc peak phasic DA release. Intra-VTA administration of the nonspecific nAChR antagonist mecamylamine produced a persistent decrease in phasic DA release. Infusion of the α6-selective antagonist α-conotoxin MII (α-ctx MII) produced a robust, but transient decrease in phasic DA, whereas infusion of selective doses of either the α4β2-selective antagonist, dihydro-beta-erythroidine, or the α7 antagonist, methyllycaconitine, had no effect. Co-infusion of AP-5 and α-ctx MII produced a similar phasic DA decrease as either drug alone, with no additive effect.
The results suggest that VTA α6β2 nAChRs, but not α4β2 or α7 nAChRs, regulate phasic DA release in the NAc core and that VTA α6β2 nAChRs and NMDA receptors act at a common site or target to regulate NAc phasic DA signaling.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The 15q25 gene cluster contains genes that code for the α5, α3, and β4 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChRs) subunits, and in human genetic studies, has shown the most robust association with smoking behavior and nicotine dependence to date. The limited available animal studies implicate a role for the α5 and β4 nAChR subunits in nicotine dependence and withdrawal; however studies focusing on the behavioral role of the α3β4* nAChR receptor subtype in nicotine dependence are lacking. Because of the apparent role of the α3β4* nAChR subtype in nicotine dependence, the goal of the current study was to better evaluate the involvement of this subtype in nicotine mediated behavioral responses. Using the selective α3β4* nAChR antagonist, α-conotoxin AuIB, we assessed the role of α3β4* nAChRs in acute nicotine, nicotine reward, and physical and affective nicotine withdrawal. Because α5 has also been implicated in nicotine dependence behaviors in mice and can form functional receptors with α3β4*, we also evaluated the role of the α3β4α5* nAChR subtype in nicotine reward and somatic nicotine withdrawal signs by blocking the α3β4* nAChR subtype in α5 nAChR knockout mice with AuIB. AuIB had no significant effect on acute nicotine behaviors, but dose-dependently attenuated nicotine reward and physical withdrawal signs, with no significant effect in affective withdrawal measures. Interestingly, AuIB also attenuated nicotine reward and somatic signs in α5 nAChR knockout mice. This study shows that α3β4* nAChRs mediate nicotine reward and physical nicotine withdrawal, but not acute nicotine behaviors or affective nicotine withdrawal signs in mice. The α5 subunit is not required in the receptor assembly to mediate these effects. Our findings suggest an important role for the α3β4* nAChR subtype in nicotine reward and physical aspects of the nicotine withdrawal syndrome.
No preview · Article · Feb 2013 · Neuropharmacology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) containing α6 and/or α4 subunits modulate the release of dopamine. However, few compounds can effectively discriminate between ligand-binding sites that contain α6 vs. α4 nAChR subunits. Using a chimeric (α6/α4) subunit, we showed that α-conotoxin BuIA binds the extracellular rat α6β2 vs. α4β2 interface with ∼60,000-fold selectivity. Chimeras containing residues from the α6 subunit were inserted into the homologous position of the α4 subunit to identify critical sequence segments. The region between residues 184 and 207 in the α6 subunit accounted for the potency difference. Chimeras within this region followed by point mutations were constructed for further definition. α6 Lys185, Thr187, and Ile188 form a triad of key residues that influence BuIA binding; when these 3 α6 residues were inserted into the α4 subunit, there was an ∼2000-fold increase in toxin potency. We used a crystal structure of BuIA bound to the acetylcholine-binding protein together with the structure of the Torepedo marmorata nAChR to build a homology model of BuIA bound to the interface between α6 and β2 subunits. The results indicate that the triad of α6 residues lies outside the C loop and is distantly located from bound BuIA (>10 Å). This suggests that alterations in potency are not caused by the direct interaction between the triad and BuIA. Instead, alterations in C-loop 3-dimensional structure and/or flexibility may account for differential potency. Thr198 and Tyr205 also contributed to BuIA potency. In addition, Thr198 caused BuIA potency differences between the closely related α6 and α3 subunits. Together, the findings provide insight into differences between the α6 and other α subunits that may be exploited by α-conotoxins to achieve binding selectivity.-Kim, H.-W., McIntosh, J. M. α6 nAChR subunit residues that confer α-conotoxin BuIA selectivity.
No preview · Article · Jul 2012 · The FASEB Journal
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nicotinic agonists display a wide-range profile of antinociceptive activity in acute, tonic, and chronic pain models. However, their effectiveness is limited by their unacceptable side effects. We investigated the antinociceptive effects of two new α4β2* nicotinic partial agonists, varenicline and sazetidine-A, in acute thermal and tonic pain mouse models. Both drugs failed to induce significant effects in the tail-flick and hot-plate tests after subcutaneous administration. However, they blocked nicotine's effects in these tests at very low doses. In contrast to acute pain tests, varenicline and sazetidine-A dose-dependently induced an analgesic effect in the mouse formalin test after systemic administration. Their antinociceptive effects were mediated, however, by different nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) subtypes. Sazetidine-A effects were mediated by β2* nAChR subtypes, whereas varenicline actions were attributed to α3β4 nAChRs. Moreover, low inactive doses of varenicline blocked nicotine's actions in phase II of the formalin test. Overall, our results suggest that the antagonistic actions of varenicline at low doses are mediated by β2*-nAChRs and at higher doses as an agonist by α3β4*-nAChRs. In contrast, both actions of sazetidine-A are mediated by β2*-nAChR subtypes. These results suggest that nicotinic partial agonists possess analgesic effects in a rodent tonic pain model and may provide a potential treatment for the treatment of chronic pain disorders.
Preview · Article · Jun 2012 · Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Airway mucus hypersecretion is a key pathophysiologic feature in a number of lung diseases. Cigarette smoke/nicotine and allergens are strong stimulators of airway mucus; however, the mechanism of mucus modulation is unclear.
We sought to characterize the pathway by which cigarette smoke/nicotine regulates airway mucus and identify agents that decrease airway mucus.
IL-13 and γ-aminobutyric acid type A receptors (GABA(A)Rs) are implicated in airway mucus. We examined the role of IL-13 and GABA(A)Rs in nicotine-induced mucus formation in normal human bronchial epithelial (NHBE) and A549 cells and secondhand cigarette smoke-induced, ovalbumin-induced, or both mucus formation in vivo.
Nicotine promotes mucus formation in NHBE cells; however, the nicotine-induced mucus formation is independent of IL-13 but sensitive to the GABA(A)R antagonist picrotoxin. Airway epithelial cells express α7-, α9-, and α10-nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs), and specific inhibition or knockdown of α7- but not α9/α10-nAChRs abrogates mucus formation in response to nicotine and IL-13. Moreover, addition of acetylcholine or inhibition of its degradation increases mucus in NHBE cells. Nicotinic but not muscarinic receptor antagonists block allergen- or nicotine/cigarette smoke-induced airway mucus formation in NHBE cells, murine airways, or both.
Nicotine-induced airway mucus formation is independent of IL-13, and α7-nAChRs are critical in airway mucous cell metaplasia/hyperplasia and mucus production in response to various promucoid agents, including IL-13. In the absence of nicotine, acetylcholine might be the biological ligand for α7-nAChRs to trigger airway mucus formation. α7-nAChRs are downstream of IL-13 but upstream of GABA(A)Rα2 in the MUC5AC pathway. Acetylcholine and α7-nAChRs might serve as therapeutic targets to control airway mucus.
No preview · Article · May 2012 · The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: J. Neurochem. (2012) 122, 48–57.
Mouse superficial superior colliculus (SuSC) contains dense GABAergic innervation and diverse nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subtypes. Pharmacological and genetic approaches were used to investigate the subunit compositions of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChR) expressed on mouse SuSC GABAergic terminals. [125I]-Epibatidine competition-binding studies revealed that the α3β2* and α6β2* nicotinic subtype-selective peptide α-conotoxin MII-blocked binding to 40 ± 5% of SuSC nAChRs. Acetylcholine-evoked [3H]-GABA release from SuSC crude synaptosomal preparations is calcium dependent, blocked by the voltage-sensitive calcium channel blocker, cadmium, and the nAChR antagonist mecamylamine, but is unaffected by muscarinic, glutamatergic, P2X and 5-HT3 receptor antagonists. Approximately 50% of nAChR-mediated SuSC [3H]-GABA release is inhibited by α-conotoxin MII. However, the highly α6β2*-subtype-selective α-conotoxin PIA did not affect [3H]-GABA release. Nicotinic subunit-null mutant mouse experiments revealed that ACh-stimulated SuSC [3H]-GABA release is entirely β2 subunit-dependent. α4 subunit deletion decreased total function by >90%, and eliminated α-conotoxin MII-resistant release. ACh-stimulated SuSC [3H]-GABA release was unaffected by β3, α5 or α6 nicotinic subunit deletions. Together, these data suggest that a significant proportion of mouse SuSC nicotinic agonist-evoked GABA-release is mediated by a novel, α-conotoxin MII-sensitive α3α4β2 nAChR. The remaining α-conotoxin MII-resistant, nAChR agonist-evoked SuSC GABA release appears to be mediated via α4β2* subtype nAChRs.
No preview · Article · Apr 2012 · Journal of Neurochemistry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Polymorphisms in the gene for the α5 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) subunit are associated with vulnerability to nicotine addiction. However, the underlying normal functions of α5-containing nAChRs in the brain are poorly understood. Striatal dopamine (DA) transmission is critical to the acquisition and maintenance of drug addiction and is modulated strongly by nicotine acting at heteromeric β2-containing (β2*) nAChRs. We explored whether α5 subunits, as well as α4, α6, and β3 subunits, participate in the powerful regulation of DA release probability by β2* nAChRs in nucleus accumbens (NAc) core and in dorsal striatum [caudatoputamen (CPu)]. We detected evoked dopamine release using fast-scan cyclic voltammetry at carbon-fiber microelectrodes in striatal slices from mice with deletions of α4, α5, α6, or β3 subunits. We show that the nAChR subtypes that dominantly regulate dopamine transmission depend critically upon α5 subunits in the dorsal CPu in α4α5(non-α6)β2-nAChRs but not in NAc core, where α4α6β2β3-nAChRs are required. These data reveal the distinct populations of nAChRs that govern DA transmission in NAc core versus dorsal CPu. Furthermore, they indicate that α5 subunits are critical to the regulation of DA transmission by α4β2* nAChRs in regions of striatum associated with habitual and instrumental responses (dorsal CPu) rather than pavlovian associations (NAc).
Preview · Article · Feb 2012 · The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia have an exceptionally high risk for tobacco dependence. Postmortem studies show that these individuals have significant reductions in α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) in several brain areas. Decreased α7-mediated function might not only be linked to schizophrenia but also to increased tobacco consumption. The purpose of this study was to determine whether pharmacological blockade of α7 nAChRs would increase motivation of rats to intravenously self-administer nicotine (NIC) during a progressive ratio schedule of reinforcement (PR). Before PR, rats received local infusions of 0, 10, or 20 pmol of a selective α7 nAChR antagonist, α-conotoxin ArIB [V11L,V16D] (ArIB) into the nucleus accumbens (NAc) shell or the anterior cingulate cortex, brain areas that contribute to motivation for drug reward. We additionally sought to determine whether local infusion of 0, 10, or 40 nmol of a selective α7 nAChR agonist, PNU 282987, into these brain areas would decrease motivation for NIC use. Infusion of ArIB into the NAc shell and anterior cingulate cortex resulted in a significant increase in active lever pressing, breakpoints, and NIC intake, suggesting that a decrease in α7 nAChR function increases motivation to work for NIC. In contrast, PNU 282987 infusion resulted in reductions in these measures when administered into the NAc shell, but had no effect after administration into the anterior cingulate cortex. These data identify reduction of α7 nAChR function as a potential mechanism for elevated tobacco use in schizophrenia and also identify activation of α7 nAChRs as a potential strategy for tobacco cessation therapy.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2011 · Neuropsychopharmacology: official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Firing rates of dopamine (DA) neurons in substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc) and ventral tegmental area (VTA) control DA release in target structures such as striatum and prefrontal cortex. DA neuron firing in the soma and release probability at axon terminals are tightly regulated by cholinergic transmission and nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs). To understand the role of α6* nAChRs in DA transmission, we studied several strains of mice expressing differing levels of mutant, hypersensitive (leucine 9' to serine [L9'S]) α6 subunits. α6 L9'S mice harboring six or more copies of the hypersensitive α6 gene exhibited spontaneous home-cage hyperactivity and novelty-induced locomotor activity, whereas mice with an equal number of WT and L9'S α6 genes had locomotor activity resembling that of control mice. α6-dependent, nicotine-stimulated locomotor activation was also more robust in high-copy α6 L9'S mice versus low-copy mice. In wheel-running experiments, results were also bi-modal; high-copy α6 L9'S animals exhibited blunted total wheel rotations during each day of a 9-day experiment, but low-copy α6 L9'S mice ran normally on the wheel. Reduced wheel running in hyperactive strains of α6 L9'S mice was attributable to a reduction in both overall running time and velocity. ACh and nicotine-stimulated DA release from striatal synaptosomes in α6 L9'S mice was well-correlated with behavioral phenotypes, supporting the hypothesis that augmented DA release mediates the altered behavior of α6 L9'S mice. This study highlights the precise control that the nicotinic cholinergic system exerts on DA transmission and provides further insights into the mechanisms and consequences of enhanced DA release.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the developing mammalian cochlea, the sensory hair cells receive efferent innervation originating in the superior olivary complex. This input is mediated by α9/α10 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) and is inhibitory due to the subsequent activation of calcium-dependent SK2 potassium channels. We examined the acquisition of this cholinergic efferent input using whole-cell voltage-clamp recordings from inner hair cells (IHCs) in acutely excised apical turns of the rat cochlea from embryonic day 21 to postnatal day 8 (P8). Responses to 1 mm acetylcholine (ACh) were detected from P0 on in almost every IHC. The ACh-activated current amplitude increased with age and demonstrated the same pharmacology as α9-containing nAChRs. Interestingly, at P0, the ACh response was not coupled to SK2 channels, so that the initial cholinergic response was excitatory and could trigger action potentials in IHCs. Coupling to SK current was detected earliest at P1 in a subset of IHCs and by P3 in every IHC studied. Clustered nAChRs and SK2 channels were found on IHCs from P1 on using Alexa Fluor 488 conjugated α-bungarotoxin and SK2 immunohistochemistry. The number of nAChRs clusters increased with age to 16 per IHC at P8. Cholinergic efferent synaptic currents first appeared in a subset of IHCs at P1 and by P3 in every IHC studied, contemporaneously with ACh-evoked SK currents, suggesting that SK2 channels may be necessary at onset of synaptic function. An analogous pattern of development was observed for the efferent synapses that form later (P6-P8) on outer hair cells in the basal cochlea.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2011 · The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Release of conventional neurotransmitters is mainly controlled by calcium (Ca²⁺) influx via high-voltage-activated (HVA), Ca(v)2, channels ("N-, P/Q-, or R-types") that are opened by action potentials. Regulation of transmission by subthreshold depolarizations does occur, but there is little evidence that low-voltage-activated, Ca(v)3 ("T-type"), channels take part. GABA release from cortical perisomatic-targeting interneurons affects numerous physiological processes, and yet its underlying control mechanisms are not fully understood. We investigated whether T-type Ca²⁺ channels are involved in regulating GABA transmission from these cells in rat hippocampal CA1 using a combination of whole-cell voltage-clamp, multiple-fluorescence confocal microscopy, dual-immunolabeling electron-microscopy, and optogenetic methods. We show that Ca(v)3.1, T-type Ca²⁺ channels can be activated by α3β4 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) that are located on the synaptic regions of the GABAergic perisomatic-targeting interneuronal axons, including the parvalbumin-expressing cells. Asynchronous, quantal GABA release can be triggered by Ca²⁺ influx through presynaptic T-type Ca²⁺ channels, augmented by Ca²⁺ from internal stores, following focal microiontophoretic activation of the α3β4 nAChRs. The resulting GABA release can inhibit pyramidal cells. The T-type Ca²⁺ channel-dependent mechanism is not dependent on, or accompanied by, HVA channel Ca²⁺ influx, and is insensitive to agonists of cannabinoid, μ-opioid, or GABA(B) receptors. It may therefore operate in parallel with the normal HVA-dependent processes. The results reveal new aspects of the regulation of GABA transmission and contribute to a deeper understanding of ACh and nicotine actions in CNS.
Full-text · Article · Sep 2011 · The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the present study, we have electrophysiologically characterized native nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) in human chromaffin cells of the adrenal gland as well as their contribution to the exocytotic process. α-Conotoxin AuIB blocked by 14 ± 1% the acetylcholine (ACh)-induced nicotinic current. α-Conotoxin MII (α-Ctx MII) exhibited an almost full blockade of the nicotinic current at nanomolar concentrations (IC(50)=21.6 nM). The α6*-preferring α-Ctx MII mutant analogs, α-Ctx MII[H9A,L15A] and α-Ctx MII[S4A,E11A,L15A], blocked nAChR currents with an IC(50) of 217.8 and 33 nM, respectively. These data reveal that nAChRs in these cells include the α6* subtype. The washout of the blockade exerted by α-conotoxin BuIA (α-Ctx BuIA; 1 μM) on ACh-evoked currents was slight and slow, arguing in favor of the presence of a β4 subunit in the nAChR composition. Exocytosis was almost fully blocked by 1 μM α-Ctx MII, its mutant analogs, or α-Ctx BuIA. Finally, the fluorescent analog Alexa Fluor 546-BuIA showed distinct staining in these cells. Our results reveal that α6β4* nAChRs are expressed and contribute to exocytosis in human chromaffin cells of the adrenal gland, the main source of adrenaline under stressful situations.
No preview · Article · Sep 2011 · The FASEB Journal