Cigarette smoke (CS) inhalation stimulates C-fibers to release sensory neuropeptides which mediate airway reflex responses to prevent irritants from entering the lower airways. When CS is inhaled via the upper airways, these airway defense responses may modulate the effect of CS on airway NEP activity and related airway hyperresponsiveness. To examine this possibility, we exposed guinea pigs to 1:10 diluted mid-tar cigarette smoke 100 puffs per day for 7 days and recorded pulmonary resistance of cumulative doses of neurokinin A (NKA, 10-12-10-8 mol/kg, i.v.) or methacholine (Mch, 1-50 μg/kg, i.v.). NEP activity in the tracheobronchi was measured using fluorometric assay. Exposure of CS alone failed to alter the doseresponse to NKA or Mch compared with air control. NEP activity in the airways after CS exposure was slightly but significantly lower than that of air control. Capsaicin pretreatment 1 week before CS exposure significantly shifted the dose-response curves of NKA, but not Mch, to the left and decreased NEP activity in the airways to a greater extent compared with CS exposure alone group. Capsaicin pretreatment alone failed to alter the responsiveness to NKA or NEP activity. CS also induced a significant increase in neutrophil counts in airways. Capsaicin pretreatment enhanced the effect of CS on neutrophil recruitment. We conclude that sensory neuropeptides may have a protective role in modulation of airways NEP activity downregulation induced by CS, probably by preventing CS from entering the lower airways or the chronic release of sensory neuropeptides induced by CS providing increased amount of substrata for NEP upregulation, and therefore modify the direct effect of CS on NEP activity and related airway hyperresponsiveness.
- airway hyperresponsiveness
- cigarette smoke
- neutral endopeptidase
- sensory neuropeptides
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)