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IDrugs. 2004 Dec;7(12):1096-103.

Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor system and neuropsychiatric disorders.

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Clinical Neuroscience Research Unit, Department of Psychiatry, University of Vermont College of Medicine, 1 South Prospect Street, Burlington, VT 05401, USA.


Investigations into the neurobiology, and biophysical and pharmacological properties of nicotinic receptors, also known as nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs), have led to an improved understanding of their role in a variety of neuropsychiatric disorders. There is a growing body of evidence linking alterations in nicotinic receptor number and/or function to conditions such as schizophrenia, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, anxiety disorders, mood disorders, and attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder. The implications of nicotine receptor modulation upon the clinical expression and progression of these disorders is currently under investigation, utilizing techniques that include psychopharmacological, cognitive, electrophysiological and neuroimaging analysis. This review attempts to outline evidence pertaining to the role of the nicotinic receptor system in various neuropsychiatric disorders in the context of understanding appropriate targets for therapeutic drug development.

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