In this study, we investigated the neuronal activity of hippocampal slices from the β-amyloid protein-infused (300 pmol/day for 10-11 days) rats using the extracellular recording technique. Perfusion of nicotine (50 μM) reduced the amplitude of electrically evoked population spikes in the CA1 pyramidal cells of the vehicle control rats, but not in those of the β-amyloid protein-infused rats, suggesting the impairment of nicotinic signaling in the β-amyloid protein-infused rats. Long-term potentiation induced by tetanic stimulations in CA1 pyramidal cells, which was readily observed in the vehicle control rats, was also impaired in the β-amyloid protein-infused rats. Nicotinic blockade by adding hexamethonium into the perfused solution inhibited long-term potentiation induction. Taken together, our previous and present results suggest that β-amyloid protein infusion impairs the signal transduction mechanisms via nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. This dysfunction may be responsible, at least in part, for the impairment of long-term potentiation induction and may lead to learning deficits. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science B.V.
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