The cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway (CAP) is a physiological mechanism that inhibits cytokine production and minimizes tissue injury during inflammation. CAP-mediated anti-inflammatory signals in vagal efferent nerve fibers result in the release of acetylcholine, which interacts with innate immune cells that express the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subunit α7 (α7nAChR).
Endothelial dysfunction during sepsis is responsible for increased endothelial permeability, leukocyte-endothelial interaction and functional breakdown of microvascular perfusion. Endotoxemia-induced endothelial dysfunction can be reduced by cholinergic CAP activation . The aim of this study was to determine the effects of the α7nAChR-agonist cdp-choline on microcirculatory alterations during experimental endotoxemia.