The aryl hydrocarbon receptor and its xenobiotic ligands: a fundamental trigger for cardiovascular diseases

Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2003 Apr;13(2):104-13. doi: 10.1016/s0939-4753(03)80026-1.


This review reconsiders a major cause of cardiovascular diseases, tobacco smoking, as the activation of the Aryl hydrocarbon Receptor (AhR), also known as the dioxin receptor, by aryl hydrocarbons from the tar fraction of tobacco in various organs of the cardiovascular domain. This concept sheds new light on well-known albeit controversial epidemiological concepts such as the Mediterranean diet and the French paradox. We also review the discovery that resveratrol, a natural AhR antagonist, may be of interest in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Ligands
  • Nicotiana / adverse effects*
  • Nicotiana / chemistry
  • Receptors, Aryl Hydrocarbon / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptors, Aryl Hydrocarbon / metabolism*
  • Resveratrol
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Stilbenes / pharmacology
  • Xenobiotics


  • Ligands
  • Receptors, Aryl Hydrocarbon
  • Stilbenes
  • Xenobiotics
  • Resveratrol