Nicotine Shown to Have Therapeutic Properties in Variety of Inflammatory Diseases

Stanford Medicine reports that nicotine has been shown to have therapeutic properties in a variety of inflammatory diseases. Researchers found that smoking tobacco demonstrated negative association with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, as well as inflammatory bowel disease, in numerous studies. The nicotine was found to be the actual source of these positive results for these diseases; not the tobacco smoking.

Nicotine acts directly on receptors located on particular types of nerve cells, as the nicotinic acetylcholine receptors themselves come in several varieties. One, designated the alpha-7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (or alpha-7 nAChR), abounds on nerve cells in many distinct regions of the brain; defects in its function have been fingered in both Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia.

The alpha-7 nicotinic receptor is also found on certain types of immune cells that can act as suppressors and regulators of the immune system. And, it turns out, a new study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, conducted by Steinman, Rothbard and their peers shows, that those very amyloid-forming proteins can activate this very receptor, on these very immune cells, resulting in a dialing down of inflammation.



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