Alzheimers disease (AD) is characterized by the presence, in the brain of the patients, of two aberrant structures: intracellular neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs), containing an abnormal hyperphosphorylated form of tau protein, and extracellular senile plaques (SPs), mainly composed by fibrillar amyloid β peptide. Another feature of AD is the neurodegeneration and dysfunction of basal forebrain cholinergic system. A possible connection among those AD characteristics could occur. Thus, the purpose of this short review is to summarize the involvement of nicotinic (nAChR) and muscarinic (mAChR) receptors on tau phosphorylation, in a direct way, or through the previous interaction of some of these receptors with amyloid β. Several studies have demonstrated that nAChR activation results in a significantly increase of tau phosphorylation, whereas mAChR activation, may prevent tau phosphorylation.
Keywords: Alzheimer's disease, tau phosphorylation, amyloid b peptide, nicotinic receptors, muscarinic receptors, acetylcholine
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