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Lookup NU author(s): Dr Christopher NileORCiD
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Objectives: The aim of this review is to examine the evidence for a functional cholinergic system operating within the periodontium and determine the evidence for its role in periodontal immunity. Introduction: Acetylcholine can influence the immune system via the 'cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway'. This pathway is mediated by the vagus nerve which releases acetylcholine to interact with the α7 subunit of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (α7nAChR) on proximate immuno-regulatory cells. Activation of the α7nAChR on these cells leads to down-regulated expression of proinflammatory mediators and thus regulates localised inflammatory responses. The role of the vagus nerve in periodontal pathophysiology is currently unknown. However, non-neuronal cells can also release acetylcholine and express the α7nAChR; these include keratinocytes, fibroblasts, T cells, B cells and macrophages. Therefore, by both autocrine and paracrine methods non-neuronal acetylcholine can also be hypothesised to modulate the localised immune response. Methods: A Pubmed database search was performed for studies providing evidence for a functional cholinergic system operating in the periodontium. In addition, literature on the role of the 'cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway' in modulating the immune response was extrapolated to hypothesise that similar mechanisms of immune regulation occur within the periodontium. Conclusion: The evidence suggests a functional nonneuronal 'cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway' may operate in the periodontium and that this may be targeted therapeutically to treat periodontal disease. © Springer Basel AG 2012.
Author(s): Zoheir N, Lappin DF, Nile CJ
Publication type: Review
Publication status: Published
Journal: Inflammation Research
Online publication date: 10/07/2012
ISSN (print): 1023-3830
ISSN (electronic): 1420-908X
PubMed id: 22777144