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Cotinine: A Therapy for Memory Extinction in Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

A Correction to this article was published on 23 April 2018

This article has been updated


Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental disorder that may develop after exposure to exceptionally threatening or unescapable horrifying events. Actual therapies fail to alleviate the emotional suffering and cognitive impairment associated with this disorder, mostly because they are ineffective in treating the failure to extinguish trauma memories in a great percentage of those affected. In this review, current behavioral, cellular, and molecular evidence supporting the use of cotinine for treating PTSD are reviewed. The role of the positive modulation by cotinine of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) and their downstream effectors, the protection of astroglia, and the inhibition of microglia in the PTSD brain are also discussed.

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Fig. 1

Change history

  • 23 April 2018

    The original version of this article unfortunately contained mistake in its Funding inforation. That is, the Grant Number has an error currently read as “This work was supported by the Fondo de Ciencia y Tecnología (FONDECYT) de Chile, Grant #1150149”.



Alzheimer’s disease


Protein kinase B




Brain-derived neurotrophic factor


Calmodulin-dependent protein kinase (CaM kinase)


Clinician-administered PTSD scale


Conditioned response


Cyclic AMP response element-binding protein


Diagnostic statistical manual of mental disorders


Fear conditioning


Functional magnetic resonance imaging or functional MRI


Gamma-aminobutyric acid


Intercalated nuclei


Glycogen synthase kinase


Mammalian target of rapamycin


Nuclear factor kappa-light-chain enhancer of activated B cells


Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors




PI-dependent kinase 1


Prefrontal cortex


Post-traumatic stress disorder


Vascular and endothelial growth factor


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The work was done with the support of the research and the Bay Pines VA healthcare system, USA. This material is the result of work supported with resources and the use of facilities at the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System and the research and development divisions of the Universidad San Sebastián, Chile. The contents do not necessarily represent the views of the Department of Veterans Affairs or the United States Government.


This work was supported by the Fondo de Ciencia y Tecnología (FONDECYT) de Chile, Grant #1150149.

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Correspondence to Gjumrakch Aliev or Valentina Echeverria.

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Mendoza, C., Barreto, G.E., Iarkov, A. et al. Cotinine: A Therapy for Memory Extinction in Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. Mol Neurobiol 55, 6700–6711 (2018).

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  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Cotinine
  • Fear
  • Inflammation
  • Nicotinic receptor
  • Extinction