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1.  Nicotinic Receptor Alpha7 Expression Identifies a Novel Hematopoietic Progenitor Lineage 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e57481.
How inflammatory responses are mechanistically modulated by nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChR), especially by receptors composed of alpha7 (α7) subunits, is poorly defined. This includes a precise definition of cells that express α7 and how these impact on innate inflammatory responses. To this aim we used mice generated through homologous recombination that express an Ires-Cre-recombinase bi-cistronic extension of the endogenous α7 gene that when crossed with a reporter mouse expressing Rosa26-LoxP (yellow fluorescent protein (YFP)) marks in the offspring those cells of the α7 cell lineage (α7lin+). In the adult, on average 20–25 percent of the total CD45+ myeloid and lymphoid cells of the bone marrow (BM), blood, spleen, lymph nodes, and Peyers patches are α7lin+, although variability between litter mates in this value is observed. This hematopoietic α7lin+ subpopulation is also found in Sca1+cKit+ BM cells suggesting the α7 lineage is established early during hematopoiesis and the ratio remains stable in the individual thereafter as measured for at least 18 months. Both α7lin+ and α7lin– BM cells can reconstitute the immune system of naïve irradiated recipient mice and the α7lin+:α7lin– beginning ratio is stable in the recipient after reconstitution. Functionally the α7lin+:α7lin– lineages differ in response to LPS challenge. Most notable is the response to LPS as demonstrated by an enhanced production of IL-12/23(p40) by the α7lin+ cells. These studies demonstrate that α7lin+ identifies a novel subpopulation of bone marrow cells that include hematopoietic progenitor cells that can re-populate an animal’s inflammatory/immune system. These findings suggest that α7 exhibits a pleiotropic role in the hematopoietic system that includes both the direct modulation of pro-inflammatory cell composition and later in the adult the role of modulating pro-inflammatory responses that would impact upon an individual’s lifelong response to inflammation and infection.
PMCID: PMC3586088  PMID: 23469197
2.  The expression of nicotinic receptor alpha7 during cochlear development 
Brain and Behavior  2012;2(5):628-639.
Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor alpha7 expression was examined in the developing and adult auditory system using mice that were modified through homologous recombination to coexpress either GFP (alpha7GFP) or Cre (alpha7Cre), respectively. The expression of alpha7GFP is first detected at embryonic (E) day E13.5 in cells of the spiral prominence. By E14.5, sensory regions including the putative outer hair cells and Deiters' cells express alpha7GFP as do solitary efferent fibers. This pattern diminishes after E16.5 in a basal to apex progression, as Hensen's cells and cells of the spiral ligament acquire alpha7GFP expression. At birth and thereafter alpha7GFP also identifies a subset of spiral ganglion cells whose processes terminate on inner hair cells. Efferent fibers identified by peripherin or calcitonin gene-related protein do not coexpress alpha7GFP. In addition to cochlear structures, there is strong expression of alpha7GFP by cells of the central auditory pathways including the ventral posterior cochlear nucleus, lateral lemniscus, central inferior colliculus, and the medial geniculate nucleus. Our findings suggest that alpha7 expression by both neuronal and non-neuronal cells has the potential to impact multiple auditory functions through mechanisms that are not traditionally attributed to this receptor.
PMCID: PMC3489815  PMID: 23139908
Alpha7; auditory system; cochlear; development; mouse; nicotinic acetylcholine receptor

Results 1-2 (2)