Divergent Roles of α5 and β4 Nicotinic Receptor Subunits in Food Reward and Nicotine-induced Weight Loss in Male Mice

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A major obstacle to successful smoking cessation is the prospect of weight gain. Despite a clear relationship between cigarette smoking and body weight, surprisingly little is known about the physiological and molecular mechanism by which nicotine affects energy homeostasis and food-motivated behaviors. Here we use loss-of-function mouse models to demonstrate that 2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) subunits encoded by the CHRNA5-CHRNA3-CHRNB4 gene cluster, α5 and β4, exhibit divergent roles in food reward. We also reveal that β4-containing nAChRs are essential for the weight-lowering effects of nicotine in diet-induced obese mice. Finally, our data support the notion of crosstalk between incretin biology and nAChR signaling, as we demonstrate that the glycemic benefits of glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor activation partially relies on β4-containing nAChRs. Together, these data encourage further research into the role of cholinergic neurotransmission in regulating food reward and the translational pursuit of site-directed targeting of β4-containing nAChRs for treatment of metabolic disease.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberbqac079
Issue number7
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Endocrine Society.

    Research areas

  • body weight, Metabolism, nAChR, Nicotine, Nicotinic receptor, Reward

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