By acting through retinal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs), acetylcholine plays an important role in the development of both the retina and central visual pathways. Ligand binding and immunoprecipitation studies with subunit-specific antibodies showed that the expression of alphaBungarotoxin (alphaBgtx) and high-affinity epibatidine (Epi) receptors is regulated developmentally and increases until postnatal day 21 (P21). The increase in Epi receptors is caused by a selective increase in the subtypes containing the alpha2, alpha4, alpha6, beta2, and beta3 subunits. Immunopurification studies revealed three major populations of Epi receptors on P21: alpha6(*) receptors (26%), which contain the alpha6beta3beta2, alpha6alpha4beta3beta2, and alpha6alpha3/alpha2beta3beta2 subtypes; alpha4(non-alpha6)(*) receptors (60%), which contain the alpha2alpha4beta2 and alpha4beta2 subtypes; and (non-alpha4/non-alpha6)(*) receptors (14%), which contain the alpha2beta2/beta4 and alpha3beta2/beta4 subtypes. These three populations can be pharmacologically discriminated using alphaconotoxin MII, which binds the alpha6(*) population with high affinity. In situ hybridization showed that the transcripts for all of the subunits are heterogeneously distributed throughout retinal neurons at P21, with alpha3, alpha6, and beta3 transcripts preferentially concentrated in the ganglion cell layer, alpha5 in the inner nuclear layer, and alpha4 and beta2 distributed rather homogeneously. To investigate whether nAChR expression is affected by visual experience, we also studied dark-reared P21 rats. Visual deprivation had no effect on the expression of alphaBgtx receptors or the developmentally regulated Epi receptors containing the alpha2, alpha6, and/or beta3 subunits but significantly increased the expression of the Epi receptors containing the alpha4 and beta2 subunits. Overall, this study demonstrates that the retina is the rat neural region that expresses the widest array of nAChR subtypes. These receptors have a specific distribution, and their expression is finely regulated during development and by visual experience.
|Titolo:||Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subtypes expression during rat retina development and their regulation by visual experience|
|Settore Scientifico Disciplinare:||Settore BIO/14 - Farmacologia|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2004|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.1124/mol.66.1.85|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||01 - Articolo su periodico|