Background: The α7 nicotinic receptor consists of identical subunits and is one of the most
abundant acetylcholine receptors in the mammalian central nervous system. However its expression is
also found in the peripheral nervous system as well as in the immune system and various peripheral
Nicotinic Receptors: They are involved in the regulation of several activities ranging from excitatory
neurotransmission, the modulation of the release of several neurotransmitters, regulation of neurite
outgrowth, and even neuronal survival/death. Its expression is found in brain areas that underlie learning
and memory, suggesting their involvement in regulating cognitive functions. The α7-nicotinic receptor
has a strategic role during development in regulating molecular pathways activated during neurogenesis.
Because of its pleiotropic effects, receptor dysfunction or dysregulated expression is found
in pathophysiological conditions of the nervous system including neurodegenerative diseases and neurodevelopmental
Conclusion: Here we review the physiological and pathological roles of alpha-7 nicotinic receptor in
different nervous system disorders and the current therapeutic strategies developed to target selectively
this receptor for potentiating or reducing its functions.