Background: Alzheimer's disease, a neurodegenerative disorder, is characterized by accumulation
of amyloid beta (Aβ) plaques, neurofibrillary tangles and loss of cholinergic neurons.
Literature review: The localization of Aβ plaques particularly in the cholinergic neuron-rich areas has
led to the discovery that Aβ binds to α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) with very high affinity.
This discovery has led to extensive exploration of the possible outcomes of this binding, ranging
from the subcellular signaling pathways to its effects on behavioral and cognitive functions. Intriguingly,
there are conflicting reports about the effects of this Aβ and α7 nAChR interaction; a few
studies report a neuroprotective role of this interaction while others claim that it is neurotoxic.
Conclusion: This review focuses on the neurotoxic and neuroprotective effects of Aβ and α7 nAChR interaction
and its implications on different cell signaling pathways and other physiological functions.
Moreover, the implications this interaction might have on Alzheimer's disease therapy are also discussed.