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Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2005 Oct;289(4):L511-20. Epub 2005 May 27.

TGF-beta potentiates airway smooth muscle responsiveness to bradykinin.

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  • 1Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Division, Dept. of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


The molecular mechanisms by which bradykinin induces excessive airway obstruction in asthmatics remain unknown. Transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta has been involved in regulating airway inflammation and remodeling in asthma, although it is unknown whether TGF-beta can modulate bradykinin-associated bronchial hyperresponsiveness. To test whether TGF-beta directly modulates airway smooth muscle (ASM) responsiveness to bradykinin, isolated murine tracheal rings were used to assess whether TGF-beta alters ASM contractile responsiveness to bradykinin. Interestingly, we found TGF-beta-treated murine rings (12.5 ng/ml, 18 h) exhibited increased expression of bradykinin 2 (B(2)) receptors and became hyperreactive to bradykinin, as shown by increases in maximal contractile responses and receptor distribution. We investigated the effect of TGF-beta on bradykinin-evoked calcium signals since calcium is a key molecule regulating ASM excitation-contraction coupling. We reported that TGF-beta, in a dose- (0.5-10 ng/ml) and time- (2-24 h) dependent manner, increased mRNA and protein expression of the B(2) receptor in cultured human ASM cells. Maximal B(2) receptor protein expression that colocalized with CD44, a marker of membrane cell surface, occurred after 18 h of TGF-beta treatment and was further confirmed using fluorescence microscopy. TGF-beta (2.5 ng/ml, 18 h) also increased bradykinin-induced intracellular calcium mobilization in fura-2-loaded ASM cells. TGF-beta-mediated enhancement of calcium mobilization was not attenuated with indomethacin, a cyclooxygenase inhibitor. These data demonstrate for the first time that TGF-beta may play a role in mediating airway hyperresponsiveness to bradykinin seen in asthmatics by enhancing ASM contractile responsiveness to bradykinin, possibly as a result of increased B(2) receptor expression and signaling.

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