Table of Contents
ISRN Cell Biology
Volume 2013, Article ID 486545, 12 pages
Review Article

Nonneuronal Cholinergic System in Breast Tumors and Dendritic Cells: Does It Improve or Worsen the Response to Tumor?

1Laboratorio de Inmunofarmacología, Segunda Cátedra de Farmacología, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA), C1121ABG Ciudad de Buenos Aires, Argentina
2Laboratorio de Inmunofarmacología Tumoral, Centro de Estudios Farmacológicos y Botánicos (CEFYBO)-CONICET, UBA, C1121ABG Ciudad de Buenos Aires, Argentina

Received 30 September 2013; Accepted 20 October 2013

Academic Editors: T. W. Grunt and F. Iovino

Copyright © 2013 Marisa Vulcano et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Besides being the main neurotransmitter in the parasympathetic nervous system, acetylcholine (ACh) can act as a signaling molecule in nonneuronal tissues. For this reason, ACh and the enzymes that synthesize and degrade it (choline acetyltransferase and acetylcholinesterase) as well as muscarinic (mAChRs) and nicotinic receptors conform the non-neuronal cholinergic system (nNCS). It has been reported that nNCS regulates basal cellular functions including survival, proliferation, adhesion, and migration. Moreover, nNCS is broadly expressed in tumors and in different components of the immune system. In this review, we summarize the role of nNCS in tumors and in different immune cell types focusing on the expression and function of mAChRs in breast tumors and dendritic cells (DCs) and discussing the role of DCs in breast cancer.