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Cyclic monoterpenes are a group of phytochemicals with antinociceptive, local anesthetic, and anti-inflammatory actions. Effects of cyclic monoterpenes including vanilin, pulegone, eugenole, carvone, carvacrol, carveol, thymol, thymoquinone, menthone, and limonene were investigated on the functional properties of the cloned α7 subunit of the human nicotinic acetylcholine receptor expressed in Xenopus oocytes. Monoterpenes inhibited the α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor in the order carveol>thymoquinone>carvacrol>menthone>thymol>limonene>eugenole>pulegone≥carvone≥vanilin. Among the monoterpenes, carveol showed the highest potency on acetylcholine-induced responses, with IC50 of 8.3 µM. Carveol-induced inhibition was independent of the membrane potential and could not be reversed by increasing the concentration of acetylcholine. In line with functional experiments, docking studies indicated that cyclic monoterpenes such as carveol may interact with an allosteric site located in the α7 transmembrane domain. Our results indicate that cyclic monoterpenes inhibit the function of human α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, with varying potencies.


NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in European Journal of Pharmacology. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in European Journal of Pharmacology, volume 776, in 2016. DOI: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2016.02.004

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