Increased relaxation of immature airways to beta2-adrenoceptor agonists is related to attenuated expression of postjunctional smooth muscle muscarinic M2 receptors

Journal of Applied Physiology
Michael John FayonRoger Marthan


Spontaneous or agonist-induced contraction of airway smooth muscle can be observed very early in fetal life, thus explaining the possible occurrence of bronchospasm in very low birth weight infants within the first days of life. In an attempt to better manage such bronchospasms, the aim of the present study was to investigate the age-specific modifications in airway smooth muscle relaxation to beta2-agonists and muscarinic antagonists using a combination of functional and molecular techniques. In the rat, isometric relaxation to the beta2-agonist salbutamol was examined in tracheae; we also examined muscarinic receptor expression (M2R and M3R mRNA levels) in airway smooth muscle by immunochemistry, Western blotting, and real-time PCR. Compared with adults, salbutamol-induced relaxation was twofold greater in immature rat isolated tracheae preconstricted by carbachol. This effect was associated with a lower expression of M2R in the smooth muscle of immature animals (sixfold and almost twofold as assessed by immunochemistry and Western blotting, respectively). Real-time PCR data indicate that changes in M2R expression according to age occurred at a posttranscriptional level. In adult airways, there was a significantly greater fun...Continue Reading


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