Nicotinic interactions with antipsychotic drugs, models of schizophrenia and impacts on cognitive function.
People with schizophrenia often have substantial cognitive impairments, which may be related to nicotinic receptor deficits, (alpha7 and alpha4beta2), documented in the brains of people with schizophrenia. The large majority of people with schizophrenia smoke cigarettes. Thus, nicotinic interactions with antipsychotic drugs are widespread. Complementary co-therapies of novel nicotinic ligands are being developed to add to antipsychotic therapy to treat the cognitive impairment of schizophrenia. Thus, it is critical to understand the interaction between nicotinic treatments and antipsychotic drugs. Nicotinic interactions with antipsychotic drugs, are complex since both nicotine and antipsychotics have complex actions. Nicotine stimulates and desensitizes nicotinic receptors of various subtypes and potentiates the release of different neurotransmitters. Antipsychotics also act on a verity of receptor systems. For example, clozapine acts as an antagonist at a variety of neurotransmitter receptors such as those for dopamine, serotonin, norepinepherine and histamine. In a series of studies, we have found that in normally functioning rats, moderate doses of clozapine impair working memory and that clozapine blocks nicotine-induced memory and attentional improvement. Clozapine and nicotine can attenuate each other's beneficial effects in reversing the memory impairment caused by the psychototmimetic drug dizocilpine. A key to the clozapine-induced attenuation of nicotine-induced cognitive improvement appears to be its 5HT(2) antagonist properties. The selective 5HT(2) antagonist ketanserin has a similar action of blocking nicotine-induced memory and attentional improvements. It is important to consider the interactions between nicotinic and antipsychotic drugs to develop the most efficacious treatment for cognitive improvement in people with schizophrenia.
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