Nicotine Abuse

Tobacco consumption has been estimated to cause nearly 20 of deaths in developed countries, and smokers are more than 20 times more likely to develop lung cancer than individuals who do not smoke Peto et al, 1992 . Despite being aware of its harmful effects, most smokers find it extremely difficult to give up tobacco. Current evidence suggests that the addictive effects of tobacco are principally due to nicotine. It is likely that neuronal nAChRs are the principal target for the drug and that...

Diabetes Mellitus

There are two main types of diabetes mellitus type-1 formely known as insulin-dependent diabetes and type-2 formerly known as non-insulin-dependent diabetes . Type 1 diabetes results from an autoimmune destruction of the S-cells and will not be considered here. The aetiology of type-2 diabetes is still obscure but there is evidence that the disease is associated with defective S-cell secretion because although glucose fails to release sufficient insulin, secretion can be stimulated by drugs,...

Myasthenia Gravis

Miniature End Plate Potentials

Myasthenia gravis is one of the best understood autoimmune diseases, with a prevalence in northern Europe of 7-9 cases per 100,000 people. Two-thirds of patients are women, in whom the disease often develops in early adult life, with a peak age of onset during the third decade both men and women can also develop the disease in later life. The hallmark of myasthenia gravis is a profound weakness of the skeletal muscle, which increases with exercise. It is caused by autoantibodies directed...

Disease of Blood Pressure Regulation

Sodium Absorption

Mutations in ENaC may produce either hereditary hypotension or hypertension. To understand why this is the case, we must first consider the role of ENaC in the regulation of blood pressure. All vertebrates must maintain a constant extracellular fluid volume in the face of marked variations in water and salt uptake. A chronic increase in blood volume produces hypertension and is accompanied by an increase in the interstitial fluid volume, which results in oedema. Conversely, decreases in blood...

Weaver Mouse Kir32 Phenotype

Serca1 Defect Skeletal Muscle

Weaver mice wv wv are so called because they have an ataxic gait and thus 'weave' around when they move. They also exhibit hyperactivity and tremor. These behaviours result from a selective loss of neurones in two regions of the brain, the granule layer of the cerebellum and the substantia nigra, during development. Although the precursors of the cerebellar granule cells develop normally, they fail to differentiate and migrate into the granule layer and they die during the first two weeks of...

Charcot MarieTooth Disease Cx32

Charcot Marie Tooth Disease Cx32

Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease CMT is the most common inherited peripheral neuropathy, affecting about 1 in 2500 individuals. The disease causes progressive degeneration of the peripheral nerves. It presents in childhood or adolescence, generally beginning with a weakness in the legs, which causes difficulty in walking, and progressing later to the arms. CMT is also characterized by foot deformities, muscle wasting, ataxia, decreased tendon reflexes and distal sensory loss. The disease is both...