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Volume 1 (2001), Pages 393-395
Directions in Science

Nicotinic Receptor Activity Alters Synaptic Plasticity

Division of Neurology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030-3498, USA

Copyright © 2001 John A. Dani.


Studies using specific agonists, antagonists, and lesions have shown that nicotinic cholinergic systems participate in attention, learning, and memory[1,2]. The nicotinic manipulations usually have the greatest influence on difficult tasks or on cognitively impaired subjects[2]. For example, Alzheimer's disease is characterized by a loss of cholinergic projections and nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) in the cortex and hippocampus[3]. Nicotine skin patches can improve learning rates and attention in Alzheimer's patients[4].