The fundamental discoveries made in this relatively new field have already brought about advances in the translational science and opened novel approaches to the treatment of human disease, including anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory therapies, repair of wounds that fail to heal, and regulation of the immune response. It is now well-established that acetylcholine (ACh) is a ubiquitous molecule in life and that in addition to neurotransmission it plays important roles in various aspects of cell biology and homeostasis outside the neural system. ACh is synthesized practically by all live cells, and plays an intermediary role in the interactions of non-neuronal cells with external environment, endocrine hormones, growth factors, cytokines and also the central nervous system. In additional to improving our understanding of structure and function of the non-neuronal cholinergic system, significant progress also has been made in elucidating the role of non-neuronal ACh (NNACh) in the pathogenesis and treatment of human disease.
The major goal of the 5th International Symposium on Non-neuronal Acetylcholine is to provide experimental and clinical justification for novel and most effective treatments of a large variety of non-neuronal human diseases with cholinergic drugs. This meeting will facilitate continued work to advance the fundamental science and translational aspects of the interdisciplinary studies on NNACh. Given the many advances in both the scientific understanding and therapeutic approaches, this is a timely opportunity to strengthen collaborative effort of basic scientists and clinical researchers. They will jointly discuss recently published and yet unpublished research data and treatment outcomes. Thus, an opportunity created within a focused interdisciplinary group of basic researchers and the clinicians with a common interest in NNACh in an informal environment will contribute to the emergence of novel ideas to resolve existing problems with treatment, with a goal to establishing fruitful collaborations.