TAS2R activation promotes airway smooth muscle relaxation despite β(2)-adrenergic receptor tachyphylaxis.

Program in Respiratory Biology and Lung Disease, Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health, 615 N Wolfe St., Rm. E-7616, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.
AJP Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology (Impact Factor: 3.52). 06/2012; 303(4):L304-11. DOI: 10.1152/ajplung.00126.2012
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Recently, bitter taste receptors (TAS2Rs) were found in the lung and act to relax airway smooth muscle (ASM) via intracellular Ca(2+) concentration signaling generated from restricted phospholipase C activation. As potential therapy, TAS2R agonists could be add-on treatment when patients fail to achieve adequate bronchodilation with chronic β-agonists. The β(2)-adrenergic receptor (β(2)AR) of ASM undergoes extensive functional desensitization. It remains unknown whether this desensitization affects TAS2R function, by cross talk at the receptors or distal common components in the relaxation machinery. We studied intracellular signaling and cell mechanics using isolated human ASM, mouse tracheal responses, and human bronchial responses to characterize TAS2R relaxation in the context of β(2)AR desensitization. In isolated human ASM, magnetic twisting cytometry revealed >90% loss of isoproterenol-promoted decrease in cell stiffness after 18-h exposure to albuterol. Under these same conditions of β(2)AR desensitization, the TAS2R agonist chloroquine relaxation response was unaffected. TAS2R-mediated stimulation of intracellular Ca(2+) concentration in human ASM was unaltered by albuterol pretreatment, in contrast to cAMP signaling, which was desensitized by >90%. In mouse trachea, β(2)AR desensitization by β-agonist amounted to 92 ± 6.0% (P < 0.001), while, under these same conditions, TAS2R desensitization was not significant (11 ± 3.5%). In human lung slices, chronic β-agonist exposure culminated in 64 ± 5.7% (P < 0.001) desensitization of β(2)AR-mediated dilation of carbachol-constricted airways that was reversed by chloroquine. We conclude that there is no evidence for physiologically relevant cross-desensitization of TAS2R-mediated ASM relaxation from chronic β-agonist treatment. These findings portend a favorable therapeutic profile for TAS2R agonists for the treatment of bronchospasm in asthma or chronic obstructive lung disease.

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    ABSTRACT: The receptors responsible for taste perception distinguish the four basic tastes : salty, sweet, bitter and umami. Among them, the bitter taste receptors (TAS2R) are G protein coupled receptors, including 25 subtypes identified in humans to date. Although the existence of endogenous agonists remains uncertain, the TAS2R receptors have the ability to recognize natural or synthetic molecules, as various molecules produced by bacteria, or caffeine, chloroquine, or erythromycin. The expression of these receptors, initially thought to be confined to the oral cavity, has recently been described in extra-oral tissues such as the gastrointestinal tract and the lungs. The effects in the lung tissue are essentially at three levels : TAS2R receptors expressed on the cilia of epithelial cells increase the cilia vibration frequency; the stimulation of TAS2R receptors expressed in bronchial smooth muscle cells leads to bronchial relaxation; while TAS2R receptors expressed on immune cells in the lung tissue, including macrophages, are involved in the modulation of the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. In conclusion, in view of these complementary mechanisms, TAS2R receptors may become a pharmacological target of interest for the treatment of obstructive lung diseases.
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    ABSTRACT: There is a need to expand the classes of drugs used to treat obstructive lung diseases to achieve better outcomes. With only one class of direct bronchodilators (β-agonists), we sought to find receptors on human airway smooth muscle (ASM) that act via a unique mechanism to relax the muscle, have a diverse agonist binding profile to enhance the probability of finding new therapeutics, and relax ASM with equal or greater efficacy than β-agonists. We have found that human and mouse ASM express six bitter taste receptor (TAS2R) subtypes, previously thought only to exist in taste buds of the tongue. Agonists acting at TAS2Rs evoke profound bronchodilation via a Ca(2+)-dependent mechanism. TAS2R function is not altered in asthma models, undergoes minimal tachyphylaxis upon repetitive dosing, and relaxes even under extreme desensitization of relaxation by β-agonists. Taken together, TAS2Rs on ASM represent a novel pathway to consider for development of agonists in the treatment of asthma and chronic obstructive lung disease.
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