The alpha-7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) plays an important role in cognitive processes and may represent a drug target for treating cognitive deficits in neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders. Bitner et al. study the effects of a particular AChR enhancer, or agonist, whose simple name is A-582941.
The figure shows the general structure of this class of molecules. A-582941 enhanced cognitive performance in behavioral assays including the monkey delayed matching-to-sample, rat social recognition, and mouse inhibitory avoidance models that capture domains of working memory, short-term recognition memory, and long-term memory consolidation, respectively. Their results demonstrate that alpha-7 nAChR agonism can lead to broad-spectrum efficacy in animal models at doses that enhance ERK1/2 (extracellular-signal regulated kinase) and CREB (cAMP response element-binding protein) phosphorylation/activation and may represent a mechanism that offers potential to improve cognitive deficits associated with neurodegenerative and psychiatric diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease and schizophrenia.