Nicotinic cholinergic receptor binding sites in the brain: regulation in vivo.
Tritiated acetylcholine was used to measure binding sites with characteristics of nicotinic cholinergic receptors in rat brain. Regulation of the binding sites in vivo was examined by administering two drugs that stimulate nicotinic receptors directly or indirectly. After 10 days of exposure to the cholinesterase inhibitor diisopropyl fluorophosphate, binding of tritiated acetylcholine in the cerebral cortex was decreased. However, after repeated administration of nicotine for 10 days, binding of tritiated acetylcholine in the cortex was increased. Saturation analysis of tritiated acetylcholine binding in the cortices of rats treated with diisopropyl fluorophosphate or nicotine indicated that the number of binding sites decreased and increased, respectively, while the affinity of the sites was unaltered.
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