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The effects of cigarette smoke on nicotinic acetylcholine receptors

Dommerholt, M.B. (2011) The effects of cigarette smoke on nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. Bachelor's Thesis, Biology.

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As smoking is one of the greatest addiction problems all over the world, a high amount of research is performed on the effects of nicotine functioning on the human body. The primary site of action of nicotine is the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor, present on almost every cell type. Different subtypes of the nicontine acetylcholine receptors are located in different areas of the brain and spinal cord and found to be effective in different processes. As smoking is classified as an addictive drug, chronic nicotine exposure is expected to exert consequences on the human brain. Some nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subtypes will be desensitized while others will be upregulated. Secondly, the dopaminergic and GABAnergic system will be activated by nicotine, leading to reward and withdrawal symptoms. Interestingly, different nAChR subtypes seem to have different pharmacological kinetics. The α4β2 subtype has a high-affinity binding for nicotine. Thereby, it is generally believed that the α4β2 subtype is rapidly desensitized and thereby affecting different processes like the reward system. Indeed, a combination of non-α7 subtypes on the GABA neurons and α7 nAChRs on the glutamate neurons are involved in the reward effects of nicotine. The different nAChRs also has an effect on nociception. Chronic nicotine exposure influences the pain sensitivity and tolerance. Latency times are increased after nicotine exposure. Suggesting that pain tolerance is higher, since nACh receptors are desensitized. The effects of different pathways are investigated using different agonists and antagonists. Both spinal and supraspinal sites of action influences nociception. Different subtypes, α4 α7 and β2, seems to be involved in varying degrees. Mechanisms behind these anti-nociceptive pathways are still unclear. More patient studies are required to investigate the effects of chronic nicotine exposure and its effects on nociception for humans.

Item Type: Thesis (Bachelor's Thesis)
Degree programme: Biology
Thesis type: Bachelor's Thesis
Language: English
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2018 07:46
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2018 07:46

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