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Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2008 May;11(3):419-24. doi: 10.1017/S1461145707008152. Epub 2008 Jan 11.

beta2 Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor availability in post-traumatic stress disorder.

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Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06516, USA.


Availability of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors containing beta2 subunits (beta2-nAChRs) was studied in unmedicated, symptomatic patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and healthy control subjects, all current non-smokers. A subgroup of participants had a history of smoking. Availability of beta2-nAChRs in the mesiotemporal cortex, prefrontal cortex, thalamus and striatum was determined using the radiotracer [123I]5-IA-85380 ([123I]5-IA) and single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT). PTSD symptoms were assessed using the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS). Never-smoking PTSD patients compared to never-smoking healthy controls showed significantly higher [123I]5-IA binding in the mesiotemporal cortex (ANOVA: F=6.21, d.f.=1, 11, p=0.030). Among all PTSD patients, there was a significant correlation between the re-experiencing symptom cluster and thalamic [123I]5-IA binding (R2=0.66, p=0.019, Bonferroni corrected). These findings not only suggest an involvement of beta2-nAChRs in the pathophysiology of PTSD but also raise the possibility that this receptor may be a novel molecular target for drug development.

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