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Neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors : neuroplastic changes underlying alcohol and nicotine addictions

Feduccia, Allison A., Chatterjee, Susmita, & Bartlett, Selena E. (2012) Neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors : neuroplastic changes underlying alcohol and nicotine addictions. Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience, 5(83), pp. 1-19.

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Abstract

Addictive drugs can activate systems involved in normal reward-related learning, creating long-lasting memories of the drug's reinforcing effects and the environmental cues surrounding the experience. These memories significantly contribute to the maintenance of compulsive drug use as well as cue-induced relapse which can occur even after long periods of abstinence. Synaptic plasticity is thought to be a prominent molecular mechanism underlying drug-induced learning and memories. Ethanol and nicotine are both widely abused drugs that share a common molecular target in the brain, the neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs). The nAChRs are ligand-gated ion channels that are vastly distributed throughout the brain and play a key role in synaptic neurotransmission. In this review, we will delineate the role of nAChRs in the development of ethanol and nicotine addiction. We will characterize both ethanol and nicotine's effects on nAChR-mediated synaptic transmission and plasticity in several key brain areas that are important for addiction. Finally, we will discuss some of the behavioral outcomes of drug-induced synaptic plasticity in animal models. An understanding of the molecular and cellular changes that occur following administration of ethanol and nicotine will lead to better therapeutic strategies.

Impact and interest:

8 citations in Scopus
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ID Code: 53726
Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: addiction, alcohol, nicotinic receptors, dopamine, brain reward
DOI: 10.3389/fnmol.2012.00083
ISSN: 1662-5099
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > CLINICAL SCIENCES (110300) > Psychiatry (incl. Psychotherapy) (110319)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > NEUROSCIENCES (110900)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PHARMACOLOGY AND PHARMACEUTICAL SCIENCES (111500)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Clinical Sciences
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2012 Selena Bartlett and Carolina Haass-Koffler
Copyright Statement: This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and subject to any copyright notices concerning any third-party graphics etc.
Deposited On: 19 Sep 2012 11:26
Last Modified: 20 Sep 2012 19:50

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