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Neuropharmacology. 2015 Sep;96(Pt B):235-43. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2014.12.028. Epub 2015 Jan 9.

Mood and anxiety regulation by nicotinic acetylcholine receptors: A potential pathway to modulate aggression and related behavioral states.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06508, USA. Electronic address: marina.picciotto@yale.edu.
2
Department of Psychiatry, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06508, USA.

Abstract

The co-morbidity between smoking and mood disorders is striking. Preclinical and clinical studies of nicotinic effects on mood, anxiety, aggression, and related behaviors, such as irritability and agitation, suggest that smokers may use the nicotine in tobacco products as an attempt to self-medicate symptoms of affective disorders. The role of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) in circuits regulating mood and anxiety is beginning to be elucidated in animal models, but the mechanisms underlying the effects of nicotine on aggression-related behavioral states (ARBS) are still not understood. Clinical trials of nicotine or nicotinic medications for neurological and psychiatric disorders have often found effects of nicotinic medications on ARBS, but few trials have studied these outcomes systematically. Similarly, the increase in ARBS resulting from smoking cessation can be resolved by nicotinic agents, but the effects of nicotinic medications on these types of mental states and behaviors in non-smokers are less well understood. Here we review the literature on the role of nAChRs in regulating mood and anxiety, and subsequently on the closely related construct of ARBS. We suggest avenues for future study to identify how nAChRs and nicotinic agents may play a role in these clinically important areas. This article is part of the Special Issue entitled 'The Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor: From Molecular Biology to Cognition'.

KEYWORDS:

Aggression; Behavior; Depression; Mood disorders; Nicotine; Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors; Smoking; Withdrawal

PMID:
25582289
PMCID:
PMC4486625
DOI:
10.1016/j.neuropharm.2014.12.028
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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