This paper describes the role of endothelial nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChR) in diseases where pathological angiogenesis plays a role. An extensive review of the literature was performed, focusing on studies that investigated the effect of nicotine upon angiogenesis. Nicotine induces pathological angiogenesis at clinically relevant concentrations (i.e. at tissue and plasma concentrations similar to those of a light to moderate smoker). Nicotine promotes endothelial cell migration, proliferation, survival, tube formation and nitric oxide (NO) production in vitro, mimicking the effect of other angiogenic growth factors. These in vitro findings indicate that there may be an angiogenic component to the pathophysiology of major tobacco related diseases such as carcinoma, atherosclerosis, and age-related macular degeneration. Indeed, nicotine stimulates pathological angiogenesis in pre-clinical models of these disorders. Subsequently, it has been demonstrated that nicotine stimulates nAChRs on the endothelium to induce angiogenic processes, that these nAChRs are largely of the α7 homomeric type, and that there are synergistic interactions between the nAChRs and angiogenic growth factor receptors at the phosphoproteomic and genomic levels. These findings are of potential clinical relevance, and provide mechanistic insights into tobacco-related disease. Furthermore, these findings may lead to novel therapies for diseases characterized by insufficient or inappropriate angiogenesis.
- Choroidal neovascularization
- nAChR (nicotinic acetylcholine receptor)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)