The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) is a DNA binding protein that acts as a nuclear receptor mediating xenobiotic metabolism and environmental responses. Owing to the evolutionary conservation of this gene and its widespread expression in the immune and circulatory systems, AhR has for many years been almost exclusively studied by the pharmacological/toxicological field for its role in contaminant toxicity. More recently, the functions of AhR in environmental adaption have been examined in the context of the occurrence, development, and therapy of cardiovascular diseases. Increasing evidence suggests that AhR is involved in maintaining homeostasis or in triggering pathogenesis by modulating the biological responses of critical cell types in the cardiovascular system. Here, we describe the structure, distribution, and ligands of AhR and the AhR signaling pathway and review the impact of AhR on cardiovascular physiology. We also discuss the potential contribution of AhR as a new potential factor in the targeted treatment of cardiovascular diseases.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)