Nicotinic Receptors, Memory, and Hippocampus

  • Munir Gunes Kutlu
  • Thomas J. GouldEmail author
Part of the Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences book series (CTBN, volume 23)


Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) modulate the neurobiological processes underlying hippocampal learning and memory. In addition, nicotine’s ability to desensitize and upregulate certain nAChRs may alter hippocampus-dependent memory processes. Numerous studies have examined the effects of nicotine on hippocampus-dependent learning, as well as the roles of low- and high-affinity nAChRs in mediating nicotine’s effects on hippocampus-dependent learning and memory. These studies suggested that while acute nicotine generally acts as a cognitive enhancer for hippocampus-dependent learning, withdrawal from chronic nicotine results in deficits in hippocampus-dependent memory. Furthermore, these studies demonstrated that low- and high-affinity nAChRs functionally differ in their involvement in nicotine’s effects on hippocampus-dependent learning. In the present chapter, we reviewed studies using systemic or local injections of acute or chronic nicotine, nAChR subunit agonists or antagonists; genetically modified mice; and molecular biological techniques to characterize the effects of nicotine on hippocampus-dependent learning.


Acetylcholine Learning Memory Hippocampus Nicotine Addiction 



This work was funded with grant support from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (T.J.G., DA017949).


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Temple UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA

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