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J Mol Neurosci. 2006;30(1-2):105-6.

Targeted in vivo expression of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in mouse brain using lentiviral expression vectors.

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1
Unité Récepteurs et Cognition, Institut Pasteur, 75724 Paris Cedex 15, France. bmolles@pasteur.fr

Abstract

Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) in the brain exhibit diverse functional properties and ubiquitous distribution. Yet, except for providing a receptor for the exogenously applied nicotine of tobacco products, their role in the normal functioning of the brain has remained elusive. We have used a lentiviral expression vector to re-express the beta2 subunit specifically in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) of beta2-/- mice. The viral vector efficiently expresses beta2- subunit protein leading to new nAChR-binding sites. VTA neurons transduced by the lentiviral vector are responsive to intravenous nicotine when analyzed using in vivo electrophysiology. Nicotine-induced dopamine release from the nucleus accumbens (NuAcc) was also restored in re-expressing beta2-/- mice. Intra-VTA injection of nicotine was found to be reinforcing in both wild-type and beta2-subunit re-expressing beta2-/- mice, but not in beta2-/- mice. Furthermore, in the absence of applied nicotine, the spontaneous slow exploratory behavior of the mice was restored, whereas fast navigation did not change. This latter behavioral analysis suggests a role for beta2* nAChR, specifically expressed in the VTA, in mammalian cognitive function.

PMID:
17192649
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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