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Journal of Molecular Neuroscience

, Volume 41, Issue 3, pp 340–346 | Cite as

Muscarinic Acetylcholine Receptors (mAChRs) in the Nervous System: Some Functions and Mechanisms

  • David A. BrownEmail author
Article

Abstract

This article summarizes some of the effects of stimulating muscarinic receptors on nerve cell activity as observed by recording from single nerve cells and cholinergic synapses in the peripheral and central nervous sytems. It addresses the nature of the muscarinic receptor(s) involved and the ion channels and subcellular mechanisms responsible for the effects. The article concentrates on three effects: postsynaptic excitation, postsynaptic inhibition, and presynaptic (auto) inhibition. Postsynaptic excitation results primarily from the inhibition of potassium currents by M1/M3/M5 receptors, consequent upon activation of phospholipase C by the G protein Gq. Postsynaptic inhibition results from M2-activation of inward rectifier potassium channels, consequent upon activation of Gi. Presynaptic inhibition results from M2 or M4 inhibition of voltage-gated calcium channels, consequent upon activation of Go. The segregation receptors, G proteins and ion channels, and the corelease of acetylcholine and glutamate from cholinergic fibres in the brain are also discussed.

Keywords

Acetylcholine Muscarinic receptors G proteins Potassium channels Calcium channels Corelease 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Work from the author’s laboratory was supported by the U.K. Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Trust.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Neuroscience, Physiology and PharmacologyUniversity College LondonLondonUK

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