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Toxicology. 2003 Feb 1;183(1-3):235-42.

Selective decreases of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in PC12 cells exposed to fluoride.

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Department of Pathology, Guiyang Medical College, Guiyang 550004, Guizhou, PR China.


In an attempt to elucidate the mechanism by which excessive fluoride damages the central nervous system, the effects of exposure of PC12 cells to different concentrations of fluoride for 48 h on nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) were characterized here. Significant reductions in the number of binding sites for both [3H]epibatidine and [125I]alpha-bungarotoxin, as well as a significant decrease in the B(max) value for the high-affinity of epibatidine binding site were observed in PC12 cells subjected to high levels of fluoride. On the protein level, the alpha 3 and alpha 7 subunits of nAChRs were also significantly decreased in the cells exposed to high concentrations of fluoride. In contrast, such exposure had no significant effect on the level of the beta 2 subunit. These findings suggest that selective decreases in the number of nAChRs may play an important role in the mechanism(s) by which fluoride causes dysfunction of the central nervous system.

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