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Life Sci. 2004 Jul 9;75(8):991-1002.

Protease-activated receptor 2 in regulation of bronchomotor tone: effect of tobacco smoking.

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Laboratoire de Biologie et Pharmacologie Respiratoire, UFR Biomedicale des Saint-Pères, Université de Versailles, Paris, France.


Protease-activated receptors are G protein-coupled receptors activated by serine-proteases. Protease-activated receptor 2 is involved in the regulation of airway smooth muscle tone but its effects vary according to species and experimental conditions. We determined the effects of protease-activated receptor 2 activation on smooth muscle tone and airway reactivity to histamine in guinea pigs and smoking or non-smoking humans. The effects of trypsin and protease-activated receptor activating peptide on the isometric tension and response to histamine of guinea pig tracheal and human bronchial rings were studied. Human tissues were obtained from 6 smokers and 4 non-smokers. We assessed the effects of epithelial removal, inhibitors of cyclooxygenases, nitric oxide synthases, neutral endopeptidase and antagonists of acetylcholine, histamine, bradykinin and tachykinin receptors. Bronchomotor responses to protease-activated receptor 2 activation were variable in guinea pig, in half of animals PAR2 activation induced smooth muscle relaxation through the epithelial release of prostanoids but not of nitric oxide. In human airways, protease-activated receptor 2 activation reduced responsiveness to histamine in bronchial rings from smokers but increased responsiveness in bronchi from non-smokers. This study demonstrates an influence of tobacco smoking on the effect of protease-activated receptor 2 activation on airway responsiveness in humans, with an increased protection against histamine-induced contractions, probably through an increased epithelial release of prostanoids. The role of airway protease-activated receptor 2 may be to maintain smooth muscle tone homeostasis.

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