Nicotine is well known for its deleterious effects on human health, and it has long been known that nicotine interacts with the stress axis in both man and in laboratory animals. Nicotine also has beneficial effects upon cognition, and an emerging literature has demonstrated that it may play a protective or palliative role in diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia. Recent advances have permitted scientists to identify the specific subtypes of nicotinic receptors responsible for the drugs varied physiological effects. The α7 subunit of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (NAchRα7), has been identified as a significant mediator of nicotine ’ s interactions with the stress axis and human disease. The NAchRα7 has also been shown to have neuroprotective effects via multiple pathways, making it a logical target for the treatment of a number of brain disorders.
Keywords: Nicotinic Receptors, stress, HPA axis, hippocampus, acetylcholin e, corticosteroid, brain disorder, NAchRα7, nicotine interact, GRE
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