Acetylcholine (ACh) is synthesized by choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) from acetylcoenzime A and choline.
This reaction occurs not only in pre-ganglionic fibers of the autonomic nervous system and post-ganglionic parasympathetic
nervous fibers but also in non neuronal cells. This knowledge led to expand the role of ACh as a neurotransmitter
and to consider it as a “cytotransmitter” and also to evaluate the existence of a non-neuronal cholinergic system comprising
ACh, ChAT, acetylcholinesterase, and the nicotinic and muscarinic ACh receptors, outside the nervous system. This
review analyzes the participation of cholinergic system in inflammation and discusses the role of different muscarinic and
nicotinic drugs that are being used to treat skin inflammatory disorders, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
as well as, intestinal inflammation and systemic inflammatory diseases, among others, to assess the potential application
of these compounds as therapeutic tools.
Keywords: acetylcholine, muscarinic receptors-nicotinic receptors-cholinergic drugs, atopic dermatitis-chronic obstructive
pulmonary disease, intestinal inflammation, sepsis.
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