An endothelial nicotinic acetycholine receptor (nAChR) mediates endothelial proliferation, survival, migration and tube formation in vitro, and angiogenesis in vivo. Exogenous nicotine stimulates this angiogenic pathway. This action of nicotine may contribute to tumor angiogenesis and tumor growth; atherosclerotic plaque neovascularization and progression; and other tobacco-related diseases. The endothelial nAChR mediates an angiogenic pathway that is interdependent with growth factor mediated pathways, as shown by pharmacological and molecular studies. The characterization of this new angiogenic pathway may provide a new therapeutic avenue for disorders of insufficient or pathological angiogenesis.
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