Further evidence for the functional role of nonsynaptic nicotinic acetylcholine receptors

E. Sylvester Vizi, Balázs Rózsa, Aliz Mayer, János P. Kiss, Tibor Zelles, Balázs Lendvai

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15 Citations (Scopus)


The function of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in the main central systems has been documented in the past decade. These studies focused mostly on the synaptic functions, although acetylcholine is released dominantly into the extrasynaptic space and the majority of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors on remote neurons are found on extrasynaptic membranes. Here, we show further evidence for the role of nonsynaptic nicotinic functions in the cognitive and the reward system. Dendrites of γ-amino-n-butyric acid (GABA)-containing interneurons of the hippocampus are densely equipped with nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. These cells play an important role in memory processing. We analysed the effects of nicotinic acetylcholine receptor stimulation on the Ca2+ dynamics of interneurons in different dendritic compartments. We also investigated the role of nicotinic receptors in the nucleus accumbens where nicotine stimulated vesicular dopamine release via activation of receptors located on varicosities. Nicotine produced comparable effects with 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, ecstasy) on dopamine release. These examples demonstrate that nonsynaptic nicotinic acetylcholine receptors can effectively influence activity pattern of neural networks in key structures of central systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499-508
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmacology
Issue number1-3 SPEC. ISS.
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2004



  • Nicotine
  • Nonsynaptic
  • Transmitter release
  • Two-photon imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology

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