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Gender-Related Differences of Tachykinin NK2 Receptor Expression and Activity in Human Colonic Smooth Muscle.

The Journal of pharmacology and experimental therapeutics (2020-08-09)
Stelina Drimousis, Irit Markus, Tim V Murphy, D Shevy Perera, Kim-Chi Phan-Thien, Li Zhang, Lu Liu
ABSTRACT

The tachykinin NK2 receptor plays a key role in gastrointestinal motor function. Enteric neurons release neurokinin A (NKA), which activates NK2 receptors on gastrointestinal smooth muscle, leading to contraction and increased motility. In patients with diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome, the NK2 receptor antagonist ibodutant had a greater therapeutic effect in females than males. The present study aimed to determine whether gender influences the expression and activity of NK2 receptors in human colonic smooth muscle. In vitro functional studies were performed to examine the contractile responses of colonic muscle strips to NKA and the selective NK2 receptor agonist [Lys5,MeLeu9,Nle10]NKA(4-10). Contractions were also measured in the presence of ibodutant to determine its antagonistic potency. The signal transduction pathways coupled to NK2 receptor activation were investigated using second messenger inhibitors. Western blot and fluorescent immunohistochemistry were conducted to determine the protein expression and localization of NK2 receptors. NK2 receptor-mediated contractility was greater in females compared with males. When against NKA, ibodutant was more potent in females. NK2 receptor expression increased with age in females, but not in males. Phospholipase C-mediated signaling was less prominent in females compared with males, whereas Ca2+ sensitization via Rho kinase and protein kinase C appeared to be the dominant pathway in both genders. The distribution of NK2 receptors in the human colon did not differ between the genders. Overall, gender differences exist in the expression and activity of NK2 receptors in colonic smooth muscle. These gender distinctions should be considered in the therapeutic development of NK2 receptor agents. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: The tachykinin NK2 receptor has been identified as a therapeutic target for the treatment of bowel and bladder dysfunctions. The present study has revealed gender-related variations in NK2 receptor activity, signaling transduction pathways, antagonist potency, and changes in expression with age. These factors may underlie the gender differences in the treatment of diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome with NK2 receptor antagonists. Our findings highlight that gender differences should be considered in the therapeutic development of NK2 receptor agents.

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