Inflammatory mediators mediate airway smooth muscle contraction through a G protein-coupled receptor–transmembrane protein 16A–voltage-dependent Ca2+ channel axis and contribute to bronchial hyperresponsiveness in asthma

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Allergic inflammation has long been implicated in asthmatic hyperresponsiveness of airway smooth muscle (ASM), but its underlying mechanism remains incompletely understood. Serving as G protein-coupled receptor agonists, several inflammatory mediators can induce membrane depolarization, contract ASM, and augment cholinergic contractile response. We hypothesized that the signal cascade integrating on membrane depolarization by the mediators might involve asthmatic hyperresponsiveness.


We sought to investigate the signaling transduction of inflammatory mediators in ASM contraction and assess its contribution in the genesis of hyperresponsiveness.


We assessed the capacity of inflammatory mediators to induce depolarization currents by electrophysiological analysis. We analyzed the phenotypes of transmembrane protein 16A (TMEM16A) knockout mice, applied pharmacological reagents, and measured the Ca2+ signal during ASM contraction. To study the role of the depolarization signaling in asthmatic hyperresponsiveness, we measured the synergistic contraction by methacholine and inflammatory mediators bothex vivoand in an ovalbumin-induced mouse model.


Inflammatory mediators, such as 5-hydroxytryptamin, histamine, U46619, and leukotriene D4, are capable of inducing Ca2+-activated Cl− currents in ASM cells, and these currents are mediated by TMEM16A. A combination of multiple analysis revealed that a G protein-coupled receptor–TMEM16A–voltage-dependent Ca2+ channel signaling axis was required for ASM contraction induced by inflammatory mediators. Block of TMEM16A activity may significantly inhibit the synergistic contraction of acetylcholine and the mediators and hence reduces hypersensitivity.


A G protein-coupled receptor–TMEM16A–voltage-dependent Ca2+ channel axis contributes to inflammatory mediator-induced ASM contraction and synergistically activated TMEM16A by allergic inflammatory mediators with cholinergic stimuli.

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