Matching Items (2)

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A novel mechanism underlies pathological, beta-amyloid-induced neuronal hyperexcitation

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Patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) exhibit a significantly higher incidence of unprovoked seizures compared to age-matched non-AD controls, and animal models of AD (i.e., transgenic human amyloid precursor protein, hAPP

Patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) exhibit a significantly higher incidence of unprovoked seizures compared to age-matched non-AD controls, and animal models of AD (i.e., transgenic human amyloid precursor protein, hAPP mice) display neural hyper-excitation and epileptic seizures. Hyperexcitation is particularly important because it contributes to the high incidence of epilepsy in AD patients as well as AD-related synaptic deficits and neurodegeneration. Given that there is significant amyloid-β (Aβ) accumulation and deposition in AD brain, Aβ exposure ultimately may be responsible for neural hyper-excitation in both AD patients and animal models. Emerging evidence indicates that α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (α7-nAChR) are involved in AD pathology, because synaptic impairment and learning and memory deficits in a hAPPα7-/- mouse model are decreased by nAChR α7 subunit gene deletion. Given that Aβ potently modulates α7-nAChR function, that α7-nAChR expression is significantly enhanced in both AD patients and animal models, and that α7-nAChR play an important role in regulating neuronal excitability, it is reasonable that α7-nAChRs may contribute to Aβ-induced neural hyperexcitation. We hypothesize that increased α7-nAChR expression and function as a consequence of Aβ exposure is important in Aβ-induced neural hyperexcitation. In this project, we found that exposure of Aβ aggregates at a nanomolar range induces neuronal hyperexcitation and toxicity via an upregulation of α7-nAChR in cultured hippocampus pyramidal neurons. Aβ up-regulates α7-nAChRs function and expression through a post translational mechanism. α7-nAChR up-regulation occurs prior to Aβ-induced neuronal hyperexcitation and toxicity. Moreover, inhibition of α7-nAChR or deletion of α7-nAChR prevented Aβ induced neuronal hyperexcitation and toxicity, which suggests that α7-nAChRs are required for Aβ induced neuronal hyperexcitation and toxicity. These results reveal a profound role for α7-nAChR in mediating Aβ-induced neuronal hyperexcitation and toxicity and predict that Aβ-induced up-regulation of α7-nAChR could be an early and critical event in AD etiopathogenesis. Drugs targeting α7-nAChR or seizure activity could be viable therapies for AD treatment.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2011

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The roles of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in the ventral tegmental area: implications in nicotine and ethanol addiction and drug intervention

Description

Tobacco and alcohol are the most commonly abused drugs worldwide. Many people smoke and drink together, but the mechanisms of this nicotine (NIC) -ethanol (EtOH) dependence are not fully known.

Tobacco and alcohol are the most commonly abused drugs worldwide. Many people smoke and drink together, but the mechanisms of this nicotine (NIC) -ethanol (EtOH) dependence are not fully known. EtOH has been shown to affect some nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs), which potentially underlies NIC-EtOH codependence. Ventral Tegmental Area (VTA) dopamine (DA) and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) neurons express different nAChR subtypes, whose net activation results in enhancement of DA release in the Prefrontal Cortex (PFC) and Nucleus Accumbens (NAc). Enhancement of DA transmission in this mesocorticolimbic system is thought to lead to rewarding properties of EtOH and NIC, clarification of which is relevant to public health and clinical diseases. The aim of this study was to elucidate pharmacological mechanisms of action employed by both NIC and EtOH through nAChRs in VTA neurons by evaluating behavioral, network, synaptic and receptor functions therein. It was hypothesized that VTA GABA neurons are controlled by α7 nAChRs on presynaptic GLUergic terminals and α6 nAChRs on presynaptic GABAergic terminals. NIC and EtOH, via these nAChRs, modulate VTA GABA neuronal function. This modulation may underlie NIC and EtOH reward and reinforcement, while pharmacological manipulation of these nAChRs may be a therapeutic strategy to treat NIC or EtOH dependence. This data demonstrates that in VTA GABA neurons, α7 nAChRs on GLUergic terminals play a key role in the mediation of local NIC-induced firing increase. α6*-nAChRs on GABA terminals enhances presynaptic GABA release, and leads to greater inhibition to VTA GABA neurons, which results in an increase VTA DA neuron firing via a disinhibition mechanism. Genetic knockout of these nAChRs significantly prevents EtOH-induced animal conditioned place preference (CPP). Furthermore, levo-tetrahydropalmadine (l-THP), a compound purified from natural Chinese herbs, blocks nAChRs, prevents NIC-induced DA neuronal firing, and eliminates NIC CPP, suggesting it as a promising candidate in a new generation of interventions for smoking cessation. Improved understanding of underlying mechanisms and development of new drugs will increase the number of successful quitters each year and dramatically improve the quality of life for millions suffering from addiction, as well as those around them.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2015