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J Neuroimmunol. 2005 Mar;160(1-2):154-61. Epub 2004 Dec 25.

Relationship between alpha 7 nAChR and apoptosis in human lymphocytes.

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Instituto de Investigaciones Bioquímicas de Bahía Blanca, UNS-CONICET, Camino La Carrindanga Km 7, B8000FWB Bahía Blanca, Argentina.


The presence of nicotinic receptors (nAChRs) in blood cells has been demonstrated. However, little is known about their functional roles. We have detected mRNA of alpha7 nAChR in peripheral human lymphocytes and determined that its expression is highly variable among individuals and within the same individual at different times. Upregulation of alpha7 is systematically observed after incubation of lymphocytes with nicotine or alpha-bungarotoxin. In addition, the incubation with these drugs decreases the percentage of apoptotic cells induced by the exposure to cortisol. Our results suggest that alpha7 nAChRs are involved in the modulation of cortisol-induced apoptosis.

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