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Genetic and environmental aspects of the role of nicotinic receptors in neurodegenerative disorders: Emphasis on Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease

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As neurodegenerative disorders are better characterized, the importance of genetic and environmental interactions is becoming more evident. Among the neurodegenerative disorders, Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease are both characterized by large losses of nicotinic binding sites in brain. In addition, losses in nicotinic receptors occur during normal aging. Chronic administration of nicotine in man or experimental animals increases the number of nicotinic receptors in brain. Nicotine has been shown to possess some neuroprotective properties for both cholinergic and dopaminergic neurons. These neuroprotective properties, when better understood, may provide important information on normal aging and neurodegenerative disorder related neuronal cell death. Understanding the functional aspects of neuronal nicotinic receptor subtypes may lead to successful therapeutic treatments or disease preventative strategies for neurodegenerative disorders.

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James, J.R., Nordberg, A. Genetic and environmental aspects of the role of nicotinic receptors in neurodegenerative disorders: Emphasis on Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. Behav Genet 25, 149–159 (1995). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02196924

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Key Words

  • Nicotinic receptors
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Parkinson's disease
  • genetics
  • environmental
  • neuroprotective