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Neurotransmitter receptors as central regulators of pancreatic cancer
Future Oncology (2010)
  • Hildegard M. Schuller, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Hussein A.N. Al-Wadei, University of Tennessee - Knoxville

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) has a near 100% mortality because it is generally detected at an advanced stage and responds poorly to existing therapeutics. This review summarizes current evidence suggesting important roles of neurotransmitter receptors in the regulation of this malignancy. Experimental evidence indicates that the α7-nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (α7nAChR) stimulates PDAC via stress neurotransmitter-mediated activation of β-adrenergic signaling while the α4β2nAChR inhibits PDAC via GABA-mediated inhibition of adenylyl cyclase activation. In analogy to molecular mechanisms that govern nicotine addiction, chronic exposure to nicotine or its nitrosated derivative nitrosamine 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone render the stimulatory α7nAChR hyperactive while desensitizing the inhibitory α4β2nAChR. Accordingly, PDAC intervention strategies should include the diagnosis of unphysiological neurotransmitter levels and aim to restore any imbalance in stimulatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters.

  • Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma,
  • PDAC,
  • Neurotransmitter receptors
Publication Date
February, 2010
Citation Information
Hildegard M. Schuller and Hussein A.N. Al-Wadei. "Neurotransmitter receptors as central regulators of pancreatic cancer" Future Oncology Vol. 6 Iss. 2 (2010)
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