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Shock. 2007 Apr;27(4):443-7.

Stimulation of alpha 7 cholinergic receptors inhibits lipopolysaccharide-induced neutrophil recruitment by a tumor necrosis factor alpha-independent mechanism.

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Center for Infection and Immunity Amsterdam (CINIMA), University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


The cholinergic nervous system controls inflammation by inhibiting the release of proinflammatory cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF) alpha from lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated macrophages. The key endogenous mediator of this so-called cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway is acetylcholine, the principal neurotransmitter of the vagus nerve, which specifically interacts with alpha7 cholinergic receptors expressed by macrophages and other cell types to inhibit TNF-alpha production. We here investigated the capacity of the selective alpha7 cholinergic receptor agonist 3-(2,4-dimethoxybenzylidene) anabaseine (GTS-21) to inhibit LPS-induced inflammatory responses in mice in vivo. To this end, mice received an intraperitoneal injection of LPS (from Escherichia coli, 200 microg) preceded by GTS-21 (4 mg/kg) or vehicle. GTS-21 strongly inhibited LPS-induced TNF-alpha release into the peritoneal cavity and the circulation. In addition, GTS-21 attenuated the influx of neutrophils into peritoneal fluid upon administration of LPS. This inhibitory effect on neutrophil recruitment by GTS-21 was independent of its effect on TNF-alpha release, considering that etanercept, a potent TNF-alpha-blocking protein containing the extracellular domain of the p75 TNF-alpha receptor, did not influence LPS-induced neutrophil influx either in the presence or in the absence of GTS-21 treatment. GTS-21 did not reduce the local secretion of macrophage inflammatory protein 2 and keratinocyte-derived cytokine, suggesting that altered concentrations of these neutrophil-attracting chemokines did not contribute to GTS-21-induced inhibition of neutrophil migration. These data identify a novel anti-inflammatory effect of chemical alpha7 cholinergic receptor stimulation that is independent from its capacity to inhibit TNF-alpha production.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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