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    The interpeduncular nucleus (IPN) plays a key role in nicotine dependence and is involved in regulation of fear responses, affective states, and novelty processing. IPN neurons express nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChR) and receive strong cholinergic innervation from the ventral medial habenula. Dorsal medial habenula neurons are primarily peptidergic, releasing substance P (SP) mainly onto IPN neurons in the lateral subnucleus (IPL). IPL neurons are sensitive to SP, but it is not known if they are involved in cholinergic transmission like other IPN neurons. We examined nAChR subunit gene expression in IPL neurons, revealing that Chrna7 (α7 nAChR subunit) is expressed in a subset of GABAergic IPL neurons. In patch-clamp recordings from IPL neurons, ACh-evoked inward currents were attenuated by methyllycaconitine (α7 nAChR antagonist) and potentiated by NS1738 (α7 Type I positive allosteric modulator). We confirmed α7 functional expression in IPL neurons by also showing that ACh-evoked currents were potentiated by PNU-120596 (Type II positive allosteric modulator). Additional pharmacological experiments show that IPN neurons expressing α7 nAChRs also express α3β4 nAChRs. Finally, we used 2-photon laser scanning microscopy and nicotine uncaging to directly examine the morphology of IPL neurons that express α7 nAChRs. These results highlight a novel aspect of α7 nAChR neurobiology, adding to the complexity of cholinergic modulation by nAChRs in the IPN. Copyright © 2022 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


    Xiao-Tao Jin, Ryan M Drenan. Functional α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in GABAergic neurons of the interpeduncular nucleus. Neuropharmacology. 2022 May 01;208:108987

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    PMID: 35167902

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