Effects of bis(7)-tacrine on spontaneous synaptic activity and on the nicotinic ACh receptor of Torpedo electric organ

Esteve Ros, Jordi Aleu, Inmaculada Gomez De Aranda, Carles Cantí, Yuan Ping Pang, Jordi Marsal, Carles Solsona

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21 Scopus citations


Bis(7)-tacrine is a potent acetylcholinesterase inhibitor in which two tacrine molecules are linked by a heptylene chain. We tested the effects of bis(7)-tacrine on the spontaneous synaptic activity. Miniature endplate potentials (MEPPs) were recorded extracellularly on slices of electric organ of Torpedo marmorata. Bis(7)-tacrine, at a concentration of 100 nM, increased the magnitudes that describe MEPPs: amplitude, area, rise time, rate of rise, and half-width. We also tested the effect of bis(7)-tacrine on nicotinic acetylcholine receptors by analyzing the currents elicited by acetylcholine (100 μM) in Torpedo electric organ membranes transplanted in Xenopus laevis oocytes. Bis(7)-tacrine inhibited the acetylcholine-induced currents in a reversible manner (IC50 = 162 nM). The inhibition of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors was not voltage dependent, and bis(7)-tacrine increased the desensitization of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. The Hill coefficient for bis(7)-tacrine was -0.72 ± 0.02, indicating that bis(7)-tacrine binds to the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor in a molecular ratio of 1:1, but does not affect the binding of α-bungarotoxin with the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor. In conclusion, bis(7)-tacrine greatly increases the spontaneous quantal release from peripheral cholinergic terminals at a much lower concentration than tacrine. Bis(7)-tacrine also blocks acetylcholine-induced currents of Torpedo electric organ, although the mechanism is different from that of tacrine: bis(7)-tacrine enhances desensitization, whereas tacrine reduces it.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)183-189
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of neurophysiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Physiology


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