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Mol Psychiatry. 2001 Sep;6(5):511-9.

Antagonism of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors by inhibitors of monoamine uptake.

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Centro de Neurobiología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Campus Juriquilla, Apartado Postal 1-1141, Juriquilla, Querétaro 76001, México.


A study was made of the effects of several monoamine-uptake inhibitors on membrane currents elicited by acetylcholine (ACh-currents) generated by rat neuronal alpha2beta4 and mouse muscle nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (AChRs) expressed in Xenopus laevis oocytes. For the two types of receptors the monoamine-uptake inhibitors reduced the ACh-currents albeit to different degrees. The order of inhibitory potency was norfluoxetine > clomipramine > indatraline > fluoxetine > imipramine > zimelidine > 6-nitro-quipazine > trazodone for neuronal alpha2beta4 AChRs, and norfluoxetine > fluoxetine > imipramine > clomipramine > indatraline > zimelidine > trazodone > 6-nitro-quipazine for muscle AChRs. Thus, the most potent inhibitor was norfluoxetine, whilst the weakest ones were trazodone, 6-nitro-quipazine and zimelidine. Effects of the tricyclic antidepressant imipramine were studied in more detail. Imipramine inhibited reversibly and non-competitively the ACh-current with a similar inhibiting potency for both neuronal alpha2beta4 and muscle AChRs. The half-inhibitory concentrations of imipramine were 3.65 +/- 0.30 microM for neuronal alpha2beta4 and 5.57 +/- 0.19 microM for muscle receptors. The corresponding Hill coefficients were 0.73 and 1.2 respectively. The inhibition of imipramine was slightly voltage-dependent, with electric distances of approximately 0.10 and approximately 0.12 for neuronal alpha2beta4 and muscle AChRs respectively. Moreover, imipramine accelerated the rate of decay of ACh- currents of both muscle and neuronal AChRs. The ACh-current inhibition was stronger when oocytes, expressing neuronal alpha2beta4 or muscle receptors, were preincubated with imipramine alone than when it was applied after the ACh-current had been generated, suggesting that imipramine acts also on non-activated or closed AChRs. We conclude that monoamine-uptake inhibitors reduce ACh-currents and that imipramine regulates reversibly and non- competitively neuronal alpha2beta4 and muscle AChRs through similar mechanisms, perhaps by interacting externally on a non-conducting state of the AChR and by blocking the open receptor-channel complex close to the vestibule of the channel. These studies may be important for understanding the regulation of AChRs as well as for understanding antidepressant- and side-effects of monoamine-uptake inhibitors.

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