Cigarette smoking is the strongest environmental risk factor for all forms of AMD. Nicotine is a potent angiogenic agent abundant in second-hand smoke, which exerts its biological effects through binding to nicotinic Ach receptors (nAChR) and may play a major role in the pathogenesis of wet AMD. This study shows that the nAChR α-3, α-10, and β-1 subunits are expressed in human retinal pigment epithelial cells and that the β-1 nAchR subunit is by far the most abundant isoform. The angiogenic effects of nicotine on RPE are also evaluated in the context of passive smoking
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