Reflex bronchoconstriction evoked by inhaled nicotine aerosol in Guinea pigs: Role of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor

L. Y. Lee, R. L. Lin, M. Khosravi, F. Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Inhaled cigarette smoke stimulated vagal bronchopulmonary C fibers via an action of nicotine on neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR). Recent studies have reported that nicotine at high concentrations can also activate the transient receptor potential ankyrin 1 receptor (TRPA1) expressed in these sensory nerves. This study was performed to characterize the airway response to inhaled nicotine aerosol and to investigate the relative roles of nAChR and TRPA1 in this response. Guinea pigs were anesthetized and mechanically ventilated; one tidal volume of nicotine aerosol (2% solution) was diluted by an equal volume of air and delivered directly into the lung via a tracheal cannula in a single breath. Our results showed the following: 1) Inhalation of nicotine aerosol triggered an immediate and pronounced bronchoconstriction; the increase in total pulmonary resistance reached a peak of 588 205% (mean SE) in 10 – 40 s, which gradually returned to baseline after 1–5 min. 2) Pretreatment with either atropine (iv) or mecamylamine (aerosol) almost completely abolished the nicotine-induced bronchoconstriction; the mecamylamine pretreatment did not block the bronchoconstriction and bradycardia evoked by electrical stimulation of the distal end of one sectioned vagus nerve, indicating its minimal systemic effects. 3) Pretreatment with HC-030031, a selective TRPA1 antagonist, abolished the bronchoconstriction induced by allyl isothiocyanate, a selective TRPA1 agonist, but did not attenuate the nicotine-evoked bronchoconstriction. In conclusion, inhalation of a single breath of nicotine aerosol evoked acute bronchoconstriction mediated through the cholinergic reflex pathway. This reflex response was triggered by activation of nAChR, but not TRPA1, located in airway sensory nerves. NEW & NOTEWORTHY Recent reports revealed that nicotine at high concentration activated transient receptor potential ankyrin 1 receptor (TRPA1) expressed in vagal bronchopulmonary sensory nerves. This study showed that inhalation of a single breath of nicotine aerosol consistently evoked acute bronchoconstriction that was mediated through the cholinergic reflex pathway and triggered by activation of nicotinic acetylcholine receptor, but not TRPA1, located in these nerves. This is new and important information considering the recent rapid and alarming rise in the prevalence of e-cigarette use for nicotine inhalation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-123
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Volume125
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2018 American Physiological Society. All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • Airway
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Cough
  • TRPA1
  • Vagus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)

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