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Br J Pharmacol. 2001 Jan;132(1):111-8.

Leukotriene C(4) enhances the contraction of porcine tracheal smooth muscle through the activation of Y-27632, a rho kinase inhibitor, sensitive pathway.

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Department of Molecular Cardiology, Research Institute of Angiocardiology, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kyushu University, 3-1-1 Maidashi, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka, 812-8582, Japan.


1. An unsaturated fatty acid, leukotriene C(4) (LTC(4)), has a potent contractile effect on human airway smooth muscle, and has been implicated in the pathogenesis of human asthma. Using front-surface fluorometry with fura-PE3, the effect of LTC(4) on the intracellular Ca(2+) concentration ([Ca(2+)](i)) and tension were investigated in porcine tracheal smooth muscle strips. 2. The application of LTC(4) induced little or no contraction despite a small and transient increase in [Ca(2+)](i). In the presence of LTC(4), however, the contractions evoked by high K(+) depolarization or a low concentration of carbachol (CCh) were markedly enhanced without inducing any changes in the [Ca(2+)](i) levels, thus indicating that LTC(4) increases the Ca(2+) responsiveness of the contractile apparatus. This LTC(4)-induced increase in Ca(2+) responsiveness could partly be reproduced in the permeabilized preparation of tracheal smooth muscle strips. 3. The LTC(4)-induced enhancement of contraction was accompanied by an increase in myosin light chain (MLC) phosphorylation and was blocked by a rho kinase inhibitor (Y-27632), but not by either a PKC inhibitor (calphostin C) or a tyrosine kinase inhibitor (genistein). 4. These results indicated that, in porcine tracheal smooth muscle, LTC(4) enhances the contraction by increasing the Ca(2+) responsiveness of the contractile apparatus in a MLC phosphorylation dependent manner, possibly through the activation of the rho-rho kinase pathway.

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