A loss-of-function polymorphism in the α5 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) subunit gene has been linked to both drug abuse and schizophrenia. The α5 nAChR subunit is strategically positioned in the prefrontal cortex (PFC), where a loss-of-function in this subunit may contribute to cognitive disruptions in both disorders. However, the specific contribution of α5 to PFC-dependent cognitive functions has yet to be illustrated. In the present studies, we used RNA interference to knockdown the α5 nAChR subunit in the PFC of adult rats. We provide evidence that through its contribution to cholinergic modulation of cholinergic modulation of neurons in the PFC, the α5 nAChR plays a specific role in the recovery of attention task performance following distraction. Our combined data reveal the potent ability of this subunit to modulate the PFC and cognitive functions controlled by this brain region that are impaired in disease.
Brain Structure and Function – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 3, 2018
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