Role of muscarinic receptors in the regulation of immune and inflammatory responses. Academic Article uri icon


  • Leukocytes contain both nicotinic and muscarinic receptors, and while activation of nicotinic receptors suppresses immune/inflammatory responses, the role of muscarinic receptors in immunity is unclear. We examined the effects of a muscarinic receptor antagonist (atropine) and agonist (oxotremorine), administered chronically through miniosmotic pumps, on immune/inflammatory responses in the rat. Results show that while oxotremorine stimulated, atropine inhibited the antibody and T-cell proliferative responses. Moreover, atropine also suppressed the turpentine-induced leukocytic infiltration and tissue injury, and inhibited chemotaxis of leukocytes toward neutrophil and monocyte/lymphocyte chemoattractants. Thus, activation of nicotinic and muscarinic receptors has opposite effects on the immune/inflammatory responses.

publication date

  • February 2008