During the past years, non-neuronal vascular nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) increasingly have gained interest in cardiovascular research, as they are known to mediate the deleterious effects of nicotine and nitrosamines, components of tobacco smoke, on the vasculature. Because smoking is a major risk factor for the development of atherosclerosis, it is obvious that understanding the pathophysiologic role of nAChRs in the atherosclerotic disease process, as well as in the development of new diagnostic and therapeutic nAChR-related options, has become more important. Accordingly, we briefly summarize the pathophysiologic role of vascular nAChRs in the atherosclerotic disease process. We also provide an overview of currently available nAChR positron emission tomography (PET) tracers and their performance in the noninvasive imaging of vascular nAChRs, as well as potential nAChR PET tracers that might be an option for vascular nAChR PET imaging in the future.
Bauwens, M., Mottaghy, F., & Bucerius, J. (2015). PET Imaging of the Human Nicotinic Cholinergic Pathway in Atherosclerosis. Current Cardiology Reports, 17(8), . https://doi.org/10.1007/s11886-015-0614-8