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Review

Regulation of Immune Functions by Non-Neuronal Acetylcholine (ACh) via Muscarinic and Nicotinic ACh Receptors

1
Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Doshisha Women’s College of Liberal Arts, 97-1 Minamihokodate, Kodo, Kyotanabe, Kyoto 610-0395, Japan
2
Department of Pharmacology, Keio University Faculty of Pharmacy, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-8512, Japan
3
Department of Molecular Pharmacology, Kitasato University School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-8641, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Gianfranco Alpini
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(13), 6818; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22136818
Received: 10 June 2021 / Revised: 16 June 2021 / Accepted: 22 June 2021 / Published: 24 June 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cholinergic Signaling in Human Health and Diseases)
Acetylcholine (ACh) is the classical neurotransmitter in the cholinergic nervous system. However, ACh is now known to regulate various immune cell functions. In fact, T cells, B cells, and macrophages all express components of the cholinergic system, including ACh, muscarinic, and nicotinic ACh receptors (mAChRs and nAChRs), choline acetyltransferase, acetylcholinesterase, and choline transporters. In this review, we will discuss the actions of ACh in the immune system. We will first briefly describe the mechanisms by which ACh is stored in and released from immune cells. We will then address Ca2+ signaling pathways activated via mAChRs and nAChRs on T cells and B cells, highlighting the importance of ACh for the function of T cells, B cells, and macrophages, as well as its impact on innate and acquired (cellular and humoral) immunity. Lastly, we will discuss the effects of two peptide ligands, secreted lymphocyte antigen-6/urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor-related peptide-1 (SLURP-1) and hippocampal cholinergic neurostimulating peptide (HCNP), on cholinergic activity in T cells. Overall, we stress the fact that ACh does not function only as a neurotransmitter; it impacts immunity by exerting diverse effects on immune cells via mAChRs and nAChRs. View Full-Text
Keywords: acetylcholine; muscarinic acetylcholine receptor; nicotinic acetylcholine receptor; lymphocyte; macrophage; secreted lymphocyte antigen-6/urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor-related peptide-1; hippocampal cholinergic neurostimulating peptide; choline acetyltransferase acetylcholine; muscarinic acetylcholine receptor; nicotinic acetylcholine receptor; lymphocyte; macrophage; secreted lymphocyte antigen-6/urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor-related peptide-1; hippocampal cholinergic neurostimulating peptide; choline acetyltransferase
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MDPI and ACS Style

Mashimo, M.; Moriwaki, Y.; Misawa, H.; Kawashima, K.; Fujii, T. Regulation of Immune Functions by Non-Neuronal Acetylcholine (ACh) via Muscarinic and Nicotinic ACh Receptors. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22, 6818. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22136818

AMA Style

Mashimo M, Moriwaki Y, Misawa H, Kawashima K, Fujii T. Regulation of Immune Functions by Non-Neuronal Acetylcholine (ACh) via Muscarinic and Nicotinic ACh Receptors. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2021; 22(13):6818. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22136818

Chicago/Turabian Style

Mashimo, Masato, Yasuhiro Moriwaki, Hidemi Misawa, Koichiro Kawashima, and Takeshi Fujii. 2021. "Regulation of Immune Functions by Non-Neuronal Acetylcholine (ACh) via Muscarinic and Nicotinic ACh Receptors" International Journal of Molecular Sciences 22, no. 13: 6818. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22136818

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