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The multiple roles of the α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor in modulating glutamatergic systems in the normal and diseased nervous system.





International audience Neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) play an important role in a variety of modulatory and regulatory processes including neurotransmitter release and synaptic transmission in various brain regions of the central nervous system (CNS). Glutamate is the principal excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain and the glutamatergic system participates in the pathophysiology of several neuropsychiatric disorders. Underpinning the importance of nAChRs, many studies demonstrated that nAChRs containing the α7 subunit facilitate glutamate release. Here, we review the currently available body of experimental evidence pertaining to α7 subunit containing nAChRs in their contribution to the modulation of glutamatergic neurotransmission, and we highlight the role of α7 in synaptic plasticity, the morphological and functional maturation of the glutamatergic system and therefore its important contribution in the modulation of neural circuits of the CNS.

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