BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE
Brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) plays an important role in several biological functions, including bronchial relaxation. Here, we have investigated the role of BNP and its cognate receptors in human bronchial tone.
Effects of BNP on responses to carbachol and histamine were evaluated in non-sensitized, passively sensitized, epithelium-intact or denuded isolated bronchi and in the presence of methoctramine, Nω-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME) and aminoguanidine. Natriuretic peptide receptors (NPRs) were investigated by immunohistochemistry, RT-PCR and real-time PCR. Release of NO and acetylcholine from bronchial tissues and cultured BEAS-2B bronchial epithelial cells was also investigated.
BNP reduced contractions mediated by carbachol and histamine, with decreased Emax (carbachol: 22.7 ± 4.7%; histamine: 59.3 ± 1.8%) and increased EC50 (carbachol: control 3.33 ± 0.88 µM, BNP 100 ± 52.9 µM; histamine: control 16.7 ± 1.7 µM, BNP 90 ± 30.6 µM); BNP was ineffective in epithelium-denuded bronchi. Among NPRs, only atrial NPR (NPR1) transcripts were detected in bronchial tissue. Bronchial NPR1 immunoreactivity was detected in epithelium and inflammatory cells but faint or absent in airway smooth muscle cells. NPR1 transcripts in bronchi increased after incubation with BNP, but not after sensitization. Methoctramine and quinine abolished BNP-induced relaxant activity. The latter was associated with increased bronchial mRNA for NO synthase and NO release, inhibited by L-NAME and aminoguanidine. In vitro, BNP increased acetylcholine release from bronchial epithelial cells, whereas NO release was unchanged.
CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS
Epithelial cells mediate the BNP-induced relaxant activity in human isolated bronchi.