Three paradigms of airway smooth muscle hyperresponsiveness in young guinea pigs.
Evidence for contributions of airway smooth muscle (ASM) to the hyperresponsiveness of newborn and juvenile airways continues to accumulate. In our laboratory, 3 novel paradigms of hyperresponsiveness of newborn and young ASM have recently emerged using a guinea pig model of maturation in 3 age groups: 1 week (newborn), 3 weeks (juvenile), and 2-3 months (adult). The first paradigm includes evidence for a natural decline after newborn and juvenile life of the velocity of ASM shortening associated with a decrease in regulatory myosin light chain phosphorylation and a parallel decline in the content of myosin light chain kinase. Associated with the decrease in ASM shortening with age is an increase in the internal resistance to shortening. Dynamic stiffness is shown to relate inversely to the expression of myosin light chain kinase. This suggests that developmental changes in shortening relate inversely to the stiffness of the ASM early in shortening, suggesting a dynamic role for the cytoskeleton in facilitating and opposing ASM shortening. This relationship can be approximated as (dP/dt)max approximately (dP/dL)passive x (dL/dt)max (the maximal rate of increase of active stress generation approximately to the passive stiffness x the maximal shortening velocity). The second paradigm demonstrates that newborn ASM, unlike that in adults, does not relax during prolonged electric field stimulation. The impaired relaxation is related to changes in prostanoid synthesis and acetylcholinesterase function. The third paradigm demonstrates that, whereas oscillatory strain serves to transiently relax adult ASM, in newborns it induces (after the initial relaxation) a sustained potentiation of active stress. This is related to developmental changes in the prostanoid release. Together, these paradigms demonstrate that ASM contributes by multiple mechanisms to the natural hyperresponsiveness of newborn and juvenile airways. Future studies will elaborate the mechanisms and extend these paradigms to ASM hyperresponsiveness following sensitization in early life.
Chitano, P; Wang, L; Murphy, TM
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