Roles of aryl hydrocarbon receptor in endothelial angiogenic responses

Yan Li, Chi Zhou, Wei Lei, Kai Wang, Jing Zheng

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) is a transcription factor, which can be activated by a plethora of structure-diverse ligands. Historically, AhR is known for its involvements in regulation of metabolism of xenobiotics. However, normal physiological roles of AhR have been defined in other essential biological processes, including vascular growth and function, reproduction, and immunoresponses. In contrast, aberrant expression and activation of the AhR signaling pathway occur in a variety of human diseases, many of which (e.g., preeclampsia, atherosclerosis, and hypertension) could be associated with endothelial dysfunction. Indeed, emerging evidence has shown that either exogenous or endogenous AhR ligands can induce endothelial dysfunction in either an AhR-dependent or AhR-independent manner, possibly reliant on the blood vessel origin (artery and vein) of endothelial cells. Given that the AhR signaling pathway has broad impacts on endothelial and cardiovascular function, AhR ligands, AhR, and their downstream genes could be considered novel therapeutic targets for those endothelial-related diseases. This review will discuss the current knowledge of AhR's mediation on endothelial function and potential mechanisms underlying these actions with a focus on placental endothelial cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)927-937
Number of pages11
JournalBiology of reproduction
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • AhR
  • AhR ligands
  • angiogenesis
  • endothelial cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Cell Biology


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