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1.  Expression and activation of the oxytocin receptor in airway smooth muscle cells: Regulation by TNFα and IL-13 
Respiratory Research  2010;11(1):104.
Background
During pregnancy asthma may remain stable, improve or worsen. The factors underlying the deleterious effect of pregnancy on asthma remain unknown. Oxytocin is a neurohypophyseal protein that regulates a number of central and peripheral responses such as uterine contractions and milk ejection. Additional evidence suggests that oxytocin regulates inflammatory processes in other tissues given the ubiquitous expression of the oxytocin receptor. The purpose of this study was to define the role of oxytocin in modulating human airway smooth muscle (HASMCs) function in the presence and absence of IL-13 and TNFα, cytokines known to be important in asthma.
Method
Expression of oxytocin receptor in cultured HASMCs was performed by real time PCR and flow cytomery assays. Responses to oxytocin was assessed by fluorimetry to detect calcium signals while isolated tracheal rings and precision cut lung slices (PCLS) were used to measure contractile responses. Finally, ELISA was used to compare oxytocin levels in the bronchoalveloar lavage (BAL) samples from healthy subjects and those with asthma.
Results
PCR analysis demonstrates that OXTR is expressed in HASMCs under basal conditions and that both interleukin (IL)-13 and tumor necrosis factor (TNFα) stimulate a time-dependent increase in OXTR expression at 6 and 18 hr. Additionally, oxytocin increases cytosolic calcium levels in fura-2-loaded HASMCs that were enhanced in cells treated for 24 hr with IL-13. Interestingly, TNFα had little effect on oxytocin-induced calcium response despite increasing receptor expression. Using isolated murine tracheal rings and PCLS, oxytocin also promoted force generation and airway narrowing. Further, oxytocin levels are detectable in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid derived from healthy subjects as well as from those with asthma.
Conclusion
Taken together, we show that cytokines modulate the expression of functional oxytocin receptors in HASMCs suggesting a potential role for inflammation-induced changes in oxytocin receptor signaling in the regulation of airway hyper-responsiveness in asthma.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-11-104
PMCID: PMC2922094  PMID: 20670427
2.  The effect of IL-13 and IL-13R130Q, a naturally occurring IL-13 polymorphism, on the gene expression of human airway smooth muscle cells 
Respiratory Research  2005;6(1):9.
Background
Growing evidence shows that interleukin 13 (IL-13) may play an essential role in the development of airway inflammation and bronchial hyper-responsiveness (BHR), two defining features of asthma. Although the underlying mechanisms remain unknown, a number of reports have shown that IL-13 may exert its deleterious effects in asthma by directly acting on airway resident cells, including epithelial cells and airway smooth muscle cells. In this report, we hypothesize that IL-13 may participate in the pathogenesis of asthma by activating a set of "pro-asthmatic" genes in airway smooth muscle (ASM) cells.
Methods
Microarray technology was used to study the modulation of gene expression of airway smooth muscle by IL-13 and IL-13R130Q. TaqMan™ Real Time PCR and flow cytometry was used to validate the gene array data.
Results
IL-13 and the IL-13 polymorphism IL-13R130Q (Arg130Gln), recently associated with allergic asthma, seem to modulate the same set of genes, which encode many potentially interesting proteins including vascular cellular adhesion molecule (VCAM)-1, IL-13Rα2, Tenascin C and Histamine Receptor H1, that may be relevant for the pathogenesis of asthma.
Conclusions
The data supports the hypothesis that gene modulation by IL-13 in ASM may be essential for the events leading to the development of allergic asthma.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-6-9
PMCID: PMC548512  PMID: 15661077

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