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Differential immediate and sustained memory enhancing effects of alpha7 nicotinic receptor agonists and allosteric modulators in rats

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The α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) is a potential target for the treatment of cognitive deficits in patients with schizophrenia, ADHD and Alzheimer's disease. Here we test the hypothesis that upregulation of α7 nAChR levels underlies the enhanced and sustained procognitive effect of repeated administration of α7 nAChR agonists. We further compare the effect of agonists to that of α7 nAChR positive allosteric modulators (PAMs), which do not induce upregulation of the α7 nAChR. Using the social discrimination test as a measure of short-term memory, we show that the α7 nAChR agonist A-582941 improves short-term memory immediately after repeated (7× daily), but not a single administration. The α7 nAChR PAMs PNU-120596 and AVL-3288 do not affect short-term memory immediately after a single or repeated administration. This demonstrates a fundamental difference in the behavioral effects of agonists and PAMs that may be relevant for clinical development. Importantly, A-582941 and AVL-3288 increase short-term memory 24 hrs after repeated, but not a single, administration, suggesting that repeated administration of both agonists and PAMs may produce sustained effects on cognitive performance. Subsequent [(125)I]-bungarotoxin autoradiography revealed no direct correlation between α7 nAChR levels in frontal cortical or hippocampal brain regions and short-term memory with either compound. Additionally, repeated treatment with A-582941 did not affect mRNA expression of RIC-3 or the lynx-like gene products lynx1, lynx2, PSCA, or Ly6H, which are known to affect nAChR function. In conclusion, both α7 nAChR agonists and PAMs exhibit sustained pro-cognitive effects after repeated administration, and altered levels of the α7 nAChR per se, or that of endogenous regulators of nAChR function, are likely not the major cause of this effect.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftPLOS ONE
Vol/bind6
Udgave nummer11
Sider (fra-til)e27014
ISSN1932-6203
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 2011

ID: 111182555