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Drucker-Colin, R; Mihailescu, S (2000)


ARCH MED RES 31(2):131-144
full text

Neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) represent a large family of ligand-gated cation channels with diverse structures and properties. In contrast to the muscular nAChRs, the physiological functions of neuronal nAChRs are not well defined to date. Behavioral studies indicate that brain nAChRs participate in complex functions such as attention, memory, and cognition, whereas clinical data suggest their involvement in the pathogenesis of certain neuropsychiatric disorders (Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, Tourette's syndrome, schizophrenia, depression, etc.). For the majority of these disorders, the use of nAChRs' agonists may represent either a prophylactic (especially for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases) or a symptomatic treatment. The possible mechanisms underlying these beneficial effects as well as the characteristics and potential therapeutic use of new, subtype-selective nAChRs agonists are presented. (C) 2000 IMSS. Published by Elsevier Science Inc.