Transient receptor potential channels in pulmonary chemical injuries and as countermeasure targets.
The lung is highly sensitive to chemical injuries caused by exposure to threat agents in industrial or transportation accidents, occupational exposures, or deliberate use as weapons of mass destruction (WMD). There are no antidotes for the majority of the chemical threat agents and toxic inhalation hazards despite their use as WMDs for more than a century. Among several putative targets, evidence for transient receptor potential (TRP) ion channels as mediators of injury by various inhalational chemical threat agents is emerging. TRP channels are expressed in the respiratory system and are essential for homeostasis. Among TRP channels, the body of literature supporting essential roles for TRPA1, TRPV1, and TRPV4 in pulmonary chemical injuries is abundant. TRP channels mediate their function through sensory neuronal and nonneuronal pathways. TRP channels play a crucial role in complex pulmonary pathophysiologic events including, but not limited to, increased intracellular calcium levels, signal transduction, recruitment of proinflammatory cells, neurogenic inflammatory pathways, cough reflex, hampered mucus clearance, disruption of the integrity of the epithelia, pulmonary edema, and fibrosis. In this review, we summarize the role of TRP channels in chemical threat agents-induced pulmonary injuries and how these channels may serve as medical countermeasure targets for broader indications.
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