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Neuronal and Extraneuronal Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptors

[ Vol. 16 , Issue. 4 ]

Author(s):

Michele Zoli, Susanna Pucci, Antonietta Vilella and Cecilia Gotti*   Pages 338 - 349 ( 12 )

Abstract:


Neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) belong to a super-family of Cysloop ligand-gated ion channels that respond to endogenous acetylcholine (ACh) or other cholinergic ligands. These receptors are also the targets of drugs such as nicotine (the main addictive agent delivered by cigarette smoke) and are involved in a variety of physiological and pathophysiological processes. Numerous studies have shown that the expression and/or function of nAChRs is compromised in many neurological and psychiatric diseases.

Furthermore, recent studies have shown that neuronal nAChRs are found in a large number of nonneuronal cell types including endothelial cells, glia, immune cells, lung epithelia and cancer cells where they regulate cell differentiation, proliferation and inflammatory responses.

The aim of this review is to describe the most recent findings concerning the structure and function of native nAChRs inside and outside the nervous system.

Keywords:

Neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subtypes, subunit composition, ligand binding site, stochiometry, nonneuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, knockout and knockout in mice.

Affiliation:

Department of Biomedical, Metabolic and Neural Sciences, Center for Neuroscience and Neurotechnology, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Modena, CNR, Neuroscience Institute-Milano, Biometra University of Milan, Milan, Department of Biomedical, Metabolic and Neural Sciences, Center for Neuroscience and Neurotechnology, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Modena, CNR, Neuroscience Institute-Milano, Biometra University of Milan, Milan

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