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Alcohol Res Health. 2006;29(3):179-85.

Alcohol's actions on neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors.

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1
Department of Pharmacology and Neuroscience, University of North Texas Health Science Center, Fort Worth, Texas, USA.

Abstract

Although it has been known for many years that alcoholism and tobacco addiction often co-occur, relatively little information is available on the biological factors that regulate the co-use and abuse of nicotine and alcohol. In the brain, nicotine acts at several different types of receptors collectively known as nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs). Alcohol also acts on at least some of these receptors, enhancing the function of some nAChR subtypes and inhibiting the activity of others. Chronic alcohol and nicotine administration also lead to changes in the numbers of nAChRs. Natural variations (i.e., polymorphisms) in the genes encoding different nAChR subunits may be associated with individual differences in the sensitivity to some of alcohol's and nicotine's effects. Finally, at least one subtype of nAChR may help protect cells against alcohol-induced neurotoxicity.

PMID:
17373406
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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