Real-Time Imaging of ATP Release Induced by Mechanical Stretch in Human Airway Smooth Muscle Cells


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Abstract

Airway smooth muscle (ASM) cells within the airway walls are continually exposed to mechanical stimuli, and exhibit various functions in response to these mechanical stresses. ATP acts as an extracellular mediator in the airway. Moreover, extracellular ATP is considered to play an important role in the pathophysiology of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. However, it is not known whether ASM cells are cellular sources of ATP secretion in the airway. We therefore investigated whether mechanical stretch induces ATP release from ASM cells. Mechanical stretch was applied to primary human ASM cells cultured on a silicone chamber coated with type I collagen using a stretching apparatus. Concentrations of ATP in cell culture supernatants measured by luciferin—luciferase bioluminescence were significantly elevated by cyclic stretch (12 and 20% strain). We further visualized the stretch-induced ATP release from the cells in real time using a luminescence imaging system, while acquiring differential interference contrast cell images with infrared optics. Immediately after a single uniaxial stretch for 1 second, strong ATP signals were produced by a certain population of cells and spread to surrounding spaces. The cyclic stretch-induced ATP release was significantly reduced by inhibitors of Ca2+-dependent vesicular exocytosis, 1,2-bis(o-aminophenoxy)ethane-N,N,N′,N′-tetraacetic acid tetraacetoxymethyl ester, monensin, N-ethylmaleimide, and bafilomycin. In contrast, the stretch-induced ATP release was not inhibited by a hemichannel blocker, carbenoxolone, or blockade of transient receptor potential vanilloid 4 by short interfering RNA transfection or ruthenium red. These findings reveal a novel property of ASM cells: mechanically induced ATP release may be a cellular source of ATP in the airway.

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