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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(9), 2504;

The Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor and the Nervous System

Toxicologie Pharmacologie et Signalisation Cellulaire, INSERM UMR-S 1124, 45 rue des Saints-Pères, 75006 Paris, France
UFR des Sciences Fondamentales et Biomédicales, Université Paris Descartes, Sorbonne Paris Cité, 45 rue des Saints-Pères, 75006 Paris, France
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 27 July 2018 / Revised: 17 August 2018 / Accepted: 21 August 2018 / Published: 24 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor in Biology and Toxicology)
PDF [1422 KB, uploaded 24 August 2018]


The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (or AhR) is a cytoplasmic receptor of pollutants. It translocates into the nucleus upon binding to its ligands, and forms a heterodimer with ARNT (AhR nuclear translocator). The heterodimer is a transcription factor, which regulates the transcription of xenobiotic metabolizing enzymes. Expressed in many cells in vertebrates, it is mostly present in neuronal cell types in invertebrates, where it regulates dendritic morphology or feeding behavior. Surprisingly, few investigations have been conducted to unravel the function of the AhR in the central or peripheral nervous systems of vertebrates. In this review, we will present how the AhR regulates neural functions in both invertebrates and vertebrates as deduced mainly from the effects of xenobiotics. We will introduce some of the molecular mechanisms triggered by the well-known AhR ligand, 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD), which impact on neuronal proliferation, differentiation, and survival. Finally, we will point out the common features found in mice that are exposed to pollutants, and in AhR knockout mice. View Full-Text
Keywords: AhR; nervous system; endocrine disruptor; TCDD; dioxin; neuron AhR; nervous system; endocrine disruptor; TCDD; dioxin; neuron

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Juricek, L.; Coumoul, X. The Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor and the Nervous System. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19, 2504.

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