Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Integrative Life Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Malgorzata Dukat


Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder generally affecting people above the age of 65 years. Even though the pathophysiological hallmarks of AD were established more than a hundred years ago, there is yet to be a drug that can stop its characteristic neuronal damage. Of the five currently FDA-approved drugs, galantamine has a unique mechanism of action. Apart from being an AChE inhibitor, galantamine can effectively potentiate (positive allosteric modulator) the effect of agonists at nAChRs at concentrations lower than those required for its action as an AChE inhibitor. Perhaps the clinical benefits observed with galantamine are associated mainly with its nAChRs-PAM action and not its AChE inhibitory effect. Inhibiting AChE causes a delay in the degradation of ACh and a prolonged presence of ACh might act at either nAChRs or mAChRs. By indirectly targeting mAChRs as well, AChE inhibitors may lead to potential side effects. Hence there is a need for specific nAChR agents.

The aim of this study was to identify the structural features of galantamine that contribute solely towards its a7 nAChR-PAM effect. In doing so, we wish to divorce the structural features that might be important for interacting with AChE. Using the deconstruction approach, we have synthesized structurally abbreviated analogs of galantamine. To study the probable interactions, we docked these molecules in human a7 nAChR homology models. Ultimately, it is of interest to determine which analogs retain the PAM activity of galantamine and to address that, a preliminary screening was performed with a select few analogs using the two-electrode voltage clamp technique


© Malaika D. Argade

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Available for download on Tuesday, May 09, 2023