Reparatory effects of nicotine on NMDA receptor-mediated synaptic plasticity in the hippocampal CA1 region of chronically lead-exposed rats.Eur J Neurosci. 2006 Mar; 23(5):1111-9.EJ
Activation of neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) modulates the induction of long-term potentiation (LTP): a possible cellular mechanism of learning. To investigate the effect of nicotine on synaptic plasticity in chronically lead-exposed rats, field excitatory postsynaptic potentials and paired-pulse facilitation (PPF) were recorded in the CA1 area of hippocampal slices from chronically lead-exposed 23-30-day-old rats. The results showed the following. (1) Nicotine (1 microm) facilitated the induction of LTP in CA1 by a weak tetanic stimulation (100 Hz, 20 pulses), which does not by itself produce LTP in lead-exposed rats. This effect was significantly suppressed by mecamylamine, a nicotinic antagonist, suggesting that the facilitation of LTP was through nAChRs. (2) The nicotine-facilitated LTP was blocked by dihydro-beta-erythroidine (DHbetaE), a non-alpha7 nAChR antagonist, whereas long-term depression (LTD) was produced by the combination of nicotine and methyllycaconitine, a alpha7-nAChR antagonist. This type of LTD was blocked by DHbetaE. This suggested that several nAChR subtypes were involved in the nicotine-facilitated synaptic plasticity. (3) Nicotine enhanced PPF in the hippocampal CA1 region, and the nicotine-facilitated LTP in lead-exposed rats was blocked by either d-(-)-2-amino-5-phosphonopentanoic acid, the N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist, or picrotoxin, an antagonist of gamma-aminobutyric acid(A) receptors. We suggest that nicotine-facilitated synaptic plasticity was due to the activation of NMDARs by disinhibition of pyramidal cells through presynaptic nAChRs. This may represent the cellular basis of nicotine-facilitated cognitive enhancement observed in chronically lead-exposed rats.