Nicotinic receptor

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Nicotinic receptors are a type of cholinergic receptor in the autonomic nervous system found on postganglionic neurons (NN) and on the neuromuscular junctions of skeletal muscle (NM). Postganglionic nicotinic receptors are slightly different from the nicotinic receptors at the neuromuscular junction (there are different protein subunits) so that the receptors may be blocked by different drugs. Nicotinic receptors are ion channels, which means that as the receptor is activated by acetylcholine, it opens up an ion channel and allows an influx of sodium, causing membrane depolarization. If acetylcholine activation is prolonged at the neuromuscular junction, the initial activation of the receptor is followed by blockade of transmission due to ongoing depolarization of the membrane – a clinically important finding.