Cholinergic modulation of dopamine pathways through nicotinic acetylcholine receptors.

S.F. de Kloet, H.D. Mansvelder, T.J. de Vries

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


Nicotine addiction is highly prevalent in current society and is often comorbid with other diseases. In the central nervous system, nicotine acts as an agonist for nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) and its effects depend on location and receptor composition. Although nicotinic receptors are found in most brain regions, many studies on addiction have focused on the mesolimbic system and its reported behavioral correlates such as reward processing and reinforcement learning. Profound modulatory cholinergic input from the pedunculopontine and laterodorsal tegmentum to dopaminergic midbrain nuclei as well as local cholinergic interneuron projections to dopamine neuron axons in the striatum may play a major role in the effects of nicotine. Moreover, an indirect mesocorticolimbic feedback loop involving the medial prefrontal cortex may be involved in behavioral characteristics of nicotine addiction. Therefore, this review will highlight current understanding of the effects of nicotine on the function of mesolimbic and mesocortical dopamine projections in the mesocorticolimbic circuit.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)425-438
JournalBiochemical Pharmacology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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