American journal of respiratory cell and molecular biology

beta(2)-adrenoceptor agonist-induced upregulation of tachykinin NK(2) receptor expression and function in airway smooth muscle.

PMID 10460759


Neurokinin A (NKA) induces bronchoconstriction mediated by tachykinin NK(2) receptors in animals and humans, and may be increased in asthma. Because beta(2)-adrenoceptor agonists are the most widely used bronchodilators in asthma, we investigated the effects of the beta(2)-adrenoceptor agonist fenoterol on NK(2) receptor messenger RNA (mRNA) and receptor density as well as the functional responses of bovine tracheal smooth muscle to the NK(2) receptor agonist [beta-Ala(8)]-NKA(4-10) in vitro, using Northern blot analysis, receptor binding, and organ bath studies. Incubation with fenoterol induced a time- and concentration-dependent upregulation of NK(2) receptor mRNA (71% increase after 12 h at 10(-7) M fenoterol), which was abolished by propranolol (a nonselective beta-adrenoceptor agonist) and ICI118551 (a selective beta(2)-adrenoceptor antagonist), but not by CGP20712A (a selective beta(1)-adrenoceptor antagonist), indicating that fenoterol acts via beta(2)-adrenoceptors. These effects were mimicked by forskolin and prostaglandin E(2) (PGE(2)), both agents that increase cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP), and by the cAMP analogue 8-bromo-cAMP. The upregulation was blocked by cycloheximide, indicating that it requires new protein synthesis, and was accompanied by an increase in both the stability of NK(2) receptor mRNA and the rate of NK(2) receptor gene transcription. Radioligand binding assay using the selective NK(2) receptor antagonist [(3)H]SR48968 showed a significant increase in the number of receptor binding sites after 12 h and 18 h, which was accompanied by an increased contractile responsiveness to the NK(2) receptor agonist [beta-Ala(8)]-NKA(4-10). Dexamethasone completely prevented the fenoterol-induced increase in NK(2) receptor mRNA and in the contractile response. We conclude that beta(2)-adrenoceptor agonists induce upregulation of functional NK(2) receptors in airway smooth muscle by increasing cAMP, and that this can be prevented by a corticosteroid. The increased responsiveness could be relevant to asthma control and mortality.

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Fenoterol hydrobromide
C17H21NO4 · HBr