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Dysfunctional Presynaptic M2 Receptors in the Presence of Chronically High Acetylcholine Levels: Data from the PRiMA Knockout Mouse.

PloS one (2015-10-28)
Franziska Mohr, Eric Krejci, Martina Zimmermann, Jochen Klein
ABSTRACT

The muscarinic M2 receptor (M2R) acts as a negative feedback regulator in central cholinergic systems. Activation of the M2 receptor limits acetylcholine (ACh) release, especially when ACh levels are increased because acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity is acutely inhibited. Chronically high ACh levels in the extracellular space, however, were reported to down-regulate M2R to various degrees. In the present study, we used the PRiMA knockout mouse which develops severely reduced AChE activity postnatally to investigate ACh release, and we used microdialysis to investigate whether the function of M2R to reduce ACh release in vivo was impaired in adult PRiMA knockout mice. We first show that striatal and hippocampal ACh levels, while strongly increased, still respond to AChE inhibitors. Infusion or injection of oxotremorine, a muscarinic M2 agonist, reduced ACh levels in wild-type mice but did not significantly affect ACh levels in PRiMA knockout mice or in wild-type mice in which ACh levels were artificially increased by infusion of neostigmine. Scopolamine, a muscarinic antagonist, increased ACh levels in wild-type mice receiving neostigmine, but not in wild-type mice or in PRiMA knockout mice. These results demonstrate that M2R are dysfunctional and do not affect ACh levels in PRiMA knockout mice, likely because of down-regulation and/or loss of receptor-effector coupling. Remarkably, this loss of function does not affect cognitive functions in PRiMA knockout mice. Our results are discussed in the context of AChE inhibitor therapy as used in dementia.

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