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Neurosci Lett. 2000 Jun 23;287(2):109-12.

Human post-mortem striatal alpha4beta2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor density in schizophrenia and Parkinson's syndrome.

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  • 1International University of Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain.


The density of nicotinic alpha4beta2 receptors, which are believed to largely mediate nicotine's effects, has been reported to be decreased in post-mortem hippocampus of patients with schizophrenia. In the present study, using [(3)H]cytisine as a radioligand, we observed a significant 30% decrease in post-mortem striatum of patients with schizophrenia (n=12) as compared to controls (n=12). A 25% decrease of striatal alpha4beta2 receptor density in patients with Parkinson's syndrome (n=12) was not significant. As an upregulation of alpha4beta2 receptors has been observed due to nicotine consumption, the beneficial effects of nicotine described in patients with schizophrenia may be partly due to a compensation for a decrease in alpha4beta2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors.

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