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Old 05-23-2013
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Default Muscarinic vs. Nicotinic receptors

I come across lots of these questions on muscarinic vs. nicotinic receptors on NBME questions.

Can anyone please confirm if my understanding is correct and also add on to the list of which diseases act on either the muscarinic or nicotinic receptors?



Muscarinic receptors:

Muscarinic receptors, or mAChRs, are acetylcholine receptors that form G protein-receptor complexes in the cell membranes of certain neurons and other cells. They play several roles, including acting as the main end-receptor stimulated by acetylcholine released from postganglionic fibers in the parasympathetic nervous system.

- tx Parkinson's disease
- prevent motion sickness
- treatment of COPD

Ligands targeting the mAChR that are currently approved for clinical use include non-selective antagonists for the treatment of Parkinson's disease, atropine (to dilate the pupil), Scopolamine (used to prevent motion sickness), and ipratropium (used in the treatment of COPD.


Nicotinic receptors:

Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, or nAChRs, are cholinergic receptors that form ligand-gated ion channels in the plasma membranes of certain neurons and on the postsynaptic side of the neuromuscular junction. As ionotropic receptors, nAChRs are directly linked to ion channels and do not use second messengers (as metabotropic receptors do).

- tx Myasthenia gravis

Prolonged or repeat exposure to a stimulus often results in decreased responsiveness of that receptor toward a stimulus, termed desensitisation (for example: myasthenia gravis). nAChR function can be modulated by phosphorylation[16] by the activation of second messenger-dependent protein kinases


Please add on to the list.
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