Cyclic stretch of airway epithelium inhibits prostanoid synthesis

Ushma Savla, Peter H.S. Sporn, Christopher M. Waters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Airway epithelial cells (AEC) metabolize arachidonic acid (AA) to biologically active eicosanoids, which contribute to regulation of airway smooth muscle tone and inflammatory responses. Although in vivo the airways undergo cyclical stretching during ventilation, the effect of cyclic stretch on airway epithelial AA metabolism is unknown. In this study, cat and human AEC were grown on flexible membranes and were subjected to cyclic stretch using the Flexercell strain unit. Cyclic stretch downregulated synthesis of prostaglandin (PG) E2, PGI2, and thromboxane A2 by both cell types in a frequency-dependent manner. The percent inhibition of prostanoid synthesis in both cell types ranged from 53 ± 7 to 75 ± 8% (SE; n = 4 and 5, respectively). Treatment of cat AEC with exogenous AA (10 μg/ml) had no effect on the stretch-induced inhibition of PGE2 synthesis, whereas treatment with exogenous pGH2 (10 μg/ml) overcame the stretch-induced decrease in PGE2 production. These results indicate that stretch inhibits prostanoid synthesis by inactivating cyclooxygenase. When cells were pretreated with the antioxidants catalase (100 μg/ml, 150 U/ml) and N- acetylcysteine (1 mM), there was a partial recovery of eicosanoid production, suggesting that cyclic stretch-induced inactivation of cyclooxygenase is oxidant mediated. These results may have important implications for inflammatory diseases in which airway mechanics are altered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L1013-L1019
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number5 17-5
StatePublished - 1997


  • Antioxidants
  • Arachidonic acid
  • Cyclooxygenase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cell Biology


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