Neuronal nicotinic receptors are key molecules for signal transduction in a number of neuronal pathways. They are widely distributed in the brain and are known to be involved in cognitive tasks, including learning and memory, in smoking addiction and in several brain diseases, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's dementias, schizophrenia, and epilepsy. This book provides a comprehensive review of the field, starting with a historical perspective and dealing with the molecular structure of these receptors, their biophysical and pharmacological properties, their distribution in central and peripheral nervous systems, and their major involvement in brain functions. Particular emphasis is paid to drugs (both new and old) that are useful in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases involving neuronal nicotinic receptors. Finally, the relevance of these receptors in smoking addiction is carefully evaluated, together with future trends and the latest results.
The History of the Neuronal Nicotinic Receptors.- Distribution of Cholinergic Neurons in the Mammalian Brain with Special Reference to Their Relationship with Neuronal Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptors.- Gene Structure and Transcriptional Regulation of the nAChRs.- Transcriptional Regulation of Neuronal nAChR Subunit Genes.- Contributions of Stdies of the Nicotinic Receptor from Muscle to Defining Structural and Functional Properties of Ligand-Gated Ion Channels.- The Structures of Neuronal Nicotinic Receptors.- The Distribution of Neuronal Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptors.- Presynaptic Neuronal Nicotinic Receptors: Pharmacology, Heterogeneity and Cellular Mechanisms.- Neuronal Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptors in Development and Aging.- Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptors in Ganglionic Transmission.- Neuronal Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptors: From Biophysical Properties to Human Diseases.- The Functional Diversity of Nicotinic Receptors in the Nervous System: Prespectives on Receptor Subtypes and Receptor Specialization.- Neuronal Nicotinic Receptors and Synaptic Transmission in the Mammalian Central Nervous System.- Properties of Heterologously and Lipid Bilayer Reconstituted Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptors.- Comparison of Native and Recombinant Neuronal Nicotinic Receptors: Problems of Measurement and Expression.- Agonists and Antagonists of Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptors.- Toxin Antagonists of the Neuronal Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptors.- Neuronal Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptors in Non-neuronal Cells, Expression and Renaturation of Ligand Binding Domain, Modulatory Control by Allosterically Acting Ligands.- Insect Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptors: Genes, Structure, Physiological and Pharmacological Properties.- Knock-out Mice as Animal Models for Studying Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor Function.-Noninvasive Exploration of Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptors in Vivo.- Genetic Regulation of Nicotine-Related Behaviors and Brain Nicotinic Receptors.- TheRole of Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptors in Cognitive Function.- Nicotine and Substand Addiction.- Involvement of Neuronal Nicotinic Receptors in Disease.- Clinical Aspects of Nicotinic Agents: Therapeutic Applications in Central Nervous System Disorders.