Nicotinic receptor activation in the airways evokes airway defensive reflexes including cough. These reflexes are the direct result of bronchopulmonary afferent nerve activation, which may occur directly, through activation of nicotinic receptors expressed on the terminals of airway sensory nerves, or indirectly, secondary to the end organ effects associated with autonomic nerve stimulation. The irritating effects of nicotine delivered topically to the airways are counterbalanced by an inhibitory effect of nicotinic receptor activation in the central nervous system. We present evidence that these nicotinic receptors are components of essential transducing and encoding mechanisms regulating airway defense.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Biochemistry, medical
- Pharmacology (medical)