Author(s): de Fiebre NC, de Fiebre CM
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Abstract The alpha7 subtype of nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) has been implicated as a potential site of action for two neurotoxins, ethanol and the Alzheimer's disease related peptide, beta-amyloid. Here, we utilized primary neuronal cultures of cerebral cortex from alpha7 nAChR null mutant mice to examine the role of this receptor in modulating the neurotoxic properties of subchronic, "binge" ethanol and beta-amyloid. Knockout of the alpha7 nAChR gene selectively enhanced ethanol-induced neurotoxicity in a gene dosage-related fashion. Susceptibility of cultures to beta-amyloid induced toxicity, however, was unaffected by alpha7 nAChR gene null mutation. Further, beta-amyloid did not inhibit the binding of the highly alpha7-selective radioligand, [(125)I]alpha-bungarotoxin. On the other hand, in studies in Xenopus oocytes ethanol efficaciously inhibited alpha7 nAChR function. These data suggest that alpha7 nAChRs modulate the neurotoxic effects of binge ethanol, but not the neurotoxicity produced by beta-amyloid. It is hypothesized that inhibition of alpha7 nAChRs by ethanol provides partial protection against the neurotoxic properties of subchronic ethanol.
This article was published in Neurosci Lett
and referenced in Biochemistry & Pharmacology: Open Access