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Nicotinic Receptors Containing the α7 Subunit: A Model for Rational Drug Design

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The neuronal nicotinic receptor has gained considerable recognition as a target, not just for combating drug addiction but also for treating a number of illnesses ranging from neurodegenerative diseases to psychotic disorders like schizophrenia. This recognition has led to a burgeoning field examining the receptor at all levels. A class of nicotinic receptors that contains the α7 gene product, apparently as a homomer, illustrates this multidisciplinary approach. Here, we review recent progress in our understanding of this class of receptors based on data from molecular, structural, physiological and patho-physiological studies. These studies have set the stage for rational drug design to combat disorders of the central nervous system. The studies also exemplify the cautious approach needed in developing CNS therapies and the importance of physiology in tempering drug design.
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Keywords: Drug Design; Nicotinic Receptors; central nervous system; neurodegenerative diseases; psychotic disorders; schizophrenia; α7 gene product

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Physiology and Biophysics, University of Colorado Denver, School of Medicine, Anschutz Medical Campus, MS 8307, PO Box 6511, Aurora CO 80045, USA.

Publication date: 2008-12-01

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  • Current Medicinal Chemistry covers all the latest and outstanding developments in medicinal chemistry and rational drug design. Each issue contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of the current topics in medicinal chemistry. Current Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.
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