Regulation of acid signaling in rat pulmonary sensory neurons by protease-activated receptor-2

Qihai Gu, Lu Yuan Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Airway acidification has been consistently observed in airway inflammatory conditions and is known to cause cardiorespiratory symptoms that are, at least in part, mediated through the activation of bronchopulmonary C fibers and the subsequent reflexes. Protease-activated receptor-2 (PAR2) is expressed in a variety of cells in the lung and airways and is believed to play a role in airway inflammation and hyperresponsiveness. This study was carried out to investigate the effect of PAR2 activation on the acid signaling in rat bronchopulmonary C-fiber sensory neurons. Our RT-PCR results revealed the expression of mRNAs for transient receptor potential vanilloid receptor 1 (TRPV1) and four functional acid-sensing ion channel (ASIC) subunits 1a, 1b, 2a, and 3 in these sensory neurons. Preincubation of SLIGRL-NH 2, a specific PAR2-activating peptide, markedly enhanced the Ca 2+ transient evoked by extracellular acidification. Pretreatment with PAR2 agonists significantly potentiated both acid-evoked ASIC- and TRPV1-like whole cell inward currents. Activation of PAR2 also potentiated the excitability of these neurons to acid, but not electrical stimulation. In addition, the potentiation of acid-evoked responses was not prevented by inhibiting either PLC or PKC nor was mimicked by activation of PKC. In conclusion, activation of PAR2 modulates the acid signaling in pulmonary sensory neurons, and the interaction may play a role in the pathogenesis of airway inflammatory conditions, where airway acidification and PAR2 activation can occur simultaneously.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L454-L461
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2010


  • Acid-sensing ion channels
  • Airway inflammation
  • Transient receptor potential vanilloid receptor 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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