Pharmacology and Therapeutics - Research Publications

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    Plasminogen-stimulated airway smooth muscle cell proliferation is mediated by urokinase and annexin A2, involving plasmin-activated cell signalling
    Stewart, AG ; Xia, YC ; Harris, T ; Royce, S ; Hamilton, JA ; Schuliga, M (WILEY-BLACKWELL, 2013-12-01)
    BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: The conversion of plasminogen into plasmin by interstitial urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA) is potentially important in asthma pathophysiology. In this study, the effect of uPA-mediated plasminogen activation on airway smooth muscle (ASM) cell proliferation was investigated. EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH: Human ASM cells were incubated with plasminogen (0.5-50 μg·mL(-1) ) or plasmin (0.5-50 mU·mL(-1) ) in the presence of pharmacological inhibitors, including UK122, an inhibitor of uPA. Proliferation was assessed by increases in cell number or MTT reduction after 48 h incubation with plasmin(ogen), and by earlier increases in [(3) H]-thymidine incorporation and cyclin D1 expression. KEY RESULTS: Plasminogen (5 μg·mL(-1) )-stimulated increases in cell proliferation were attenuated by UK122 (10 μM) or by transfection with uPA gene-specific siRNA. Exogenous plasmin (5 mU·mL(-1) ) also stimulated increases in cell proliferation. Inhibition of plasmin-stimulated ERK1/2 or PI3K/Akt signalling attenuated plasmin-stimulated increases in ASM proliferation. Furthermore, pharmacological inhibition of cell signalling mediated by the EGF receptor, a receptor trans-activated by plasmin, also reduced plasmin(ogen)-stimulated cell proliferation. Knock down of annexin A2, which has dual roles in both plasminogen activation and plasmin-signal transduction, also attenuated ASM cell proliferation following incubation with either plasminogen or plasmin. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: Plasminogen stimulates ASM cell proliferation in a manner mediated by uPA and involving multiple signalling pathways downstream of plasmin. Targeting mediators of plasminogen-evoked ASM responses, such as uPA or annexin A2, may be useful in the treatment of asthma.
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    Novel Small Airway Bronchodilator Responses to Rosiglitazone in Mouse Lung Slices
    Bourke, JE ; Bai, Y ; Donovan, C ; Esposito, JG ; Tan, X ; Sanderson, MJ (AMER THORACIC SOC, 2014-04-01)
    There is a need to identify novel agents that elicit small airway relaxation when β2-adrenoceptor agonists become ineffective in difficult-to-treat asthma. Because chronic treatment with the synthetic peroxisome proliferator activated receptor (PPAR)γ agonist rosiglitazone (RGZ) inhibits airway hyperresponsiveness in mouse models of allergic airways disease, we tested the hypothesis that RGZ causes acute airway relaxation by measuring changes in small airway size in mouse lung slices. Whereas the β-adrenoceptor agonists albuterol (ALB) and isoproterenol induced partial airway relaxation, RGZ reversed submaximal and maximal contraction to methacholine (MCh) and was similarly effective after precontraction with serotonin or endothelin-1. Concentration-dependent relaxation to RGZ was not altered by the β-adrenoceptor antagonist propranolol and was enhanced by ALB. RGZ-induced relaxation was mimicked by other synthetic PPARγ agonists but not by the putative endogenous agonist 15-deoxy-PGJ2 and was not prevented by the PPARγ antagonist GW9662. To induce airway relaxation, RGZ inhibited the amplitude and frequency of MCh-induced Ca(2+) oscillations of airway smooth muscle cells (ASMCs). In addition, RGZ reduced MCh-induced Ca(2+) sensitivity of the ASMCs. Collectively, these findings demonstrate that acute bronchodilator responses induced by RGZ are PPARγ independent, additive with ALB, and occur by the inhibition of ASMC Ca(2+) signaling and Ca(2+) sensitivity. Because RGZ continues to elicit relaxation when β-adrenoceptor agonists have a limited effect, RGZ or related compounds may have potential as bronchodilators for the treatment of difficult asthma.
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    Plasminogen-Stimulated Inflammatory Cytokine Production by Airway Smooth Muscle Cells Is Regulated by Annexin A2
    Schuliga, M ; Langenbach, S ; Xia, YC ; Qin, C ; Mok, JSL ; Harris, T ; Mackay, GA ; Medcalf, RL ; Stewart, AG (AMER THORACIC SOC, 2013-11-01)
    Plasminogen has a role in airway inflammation. Airway smooth muscle (ASM) cells cleave plasminogen into plasmin, a protease with proinflammatory activity. In this study, the effect of plasminogen on cytokine production by human ASM cells was investigated in vitro. Levels of IL-6 and IL-8 in the medium of ASM cells were increased by incubation with plasminogen (5-50 μg/ml) for 24 hours (P < 0.05; n = 6-9), corresponding to changes in the levels of cytokine mRNA at 4 hours. The effects of plasminogen were attenuated by α2-antiplasmin (1 μg/ml), a plasmin inhibitor (P < 0.05; n = 6-12). Exogenous plasmin (5-15 mU/ml) also stimulated cytokine production (P < 0.05; n = 6-8) in a manner sensitive to serine-protease inhibition by aprotinin (10 KIU/ml). Plasminogen-stimulated cytokine production was increased in cells pretreated with basic fibroblast growth factor (300 pM) in a manner associated with increases in urokinase plasminogen activator expression and plasmin formation. The knockdown of annexin A2, a component of the putative plasminogen receptor comprised of annexin A2 and S100A10, attenuated plasminogen conversion into plasmin and plasmin-stimulated cytokine production by ASM cells. Moreover, a role for annexin A2 in airway inflammation was demonstrated in annexin A2-/- mice in which antigen-induced increases in inflammatory cell number and IL-6 levels in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid were reduced (P < 0.01; n = 10-14). In conclusion, plasminogen stimulates ASM cytokine production in a manner regulated by annexin A2. Our study shows for the first time that targeting annexin A2-mediated signaling may provide a novel therapeutic approach to the treatment of airway inflammation in diseases such as chronic asthma.
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    Transforming Growth Factor-beta-Induced Differentiation of Airway Smooth Muscle Cells Is Inhibited by Fibroblast Growth Factor-2
    Schuliga, M ; Javeed, A ; Harris, T ; Xia, Y ; Qin, C ; Wang, Z ; Zhang, X ; Lee, PVS ; Camoretti-Mercado, B ; Stewart, AG (AMER THORACIC SOC, 2013-03-01)
    In asthma, basic fibroblast growth factor (FGF-2) plays an important (patho)physiological role. This study examines the effects of FGF-2 on the transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β)-stimulated differentiation of airway smooth muscle (ASM) cells in vitro. The differentiation of human ASM cells after incubation with TGF-β (100 pM) and/or FGF-2 (300 pM) for 48 hours was assessed by increases in contractile protein expression, actin-cytoskeleton reorganization, enhancements in cell stiffness, and collagen remodeling. FGF-2 inhibited TGF-β-stimulated increases in transgelin (SM22) and calponin gene expression (n = 15, P < 0.01) in an extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) signal transduction-dependent manner. The abundance of ordered α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) filaments formed in the presence of TGF-β were also reduced by FGF-2, as was the ratio of F-actin to G-actin (n = 8, P < 0.01). Furthermore, FGF-2 attenuated TGF-β-stimulated increases in ASM cell stiffness and the ASM-mediated contraction of lattices, composed of collagen fibrils (n = 5, P < 0.01). However, the TGF-β-stimulated production of IL-6 was not influenced by FGF-2 (n = 4, P > 0.05), suggesting that FGF-2 antagonism is selective for the regulation of ASM cell contractile protein expression, organization, and function. Another mitogen, thrombin (0.3 U ml(-1)), exerted no effect on TGF-β-regulated contractile protein expression (n = 8, P > 0.05), α-SMA organization, or the ratio of F-actin to G-actin (n = 4, P > 0.05), suggesting that the inhibitory effect of FGF-2 is dissociated from its mitogenic actions. The addition of FGF-2, 24 hours after TGF-β treatment, still reduced contractile protein expression, even when the TGF-β-receptor kinase inhibitor, SB431542 (10 μM), was added 1 hour before FGF-2. We conclude that the ASM cell differentiation promoted by TGF-β is antagonized by FGF-2. A better understanding of the mechanism of action for FGF-2 is necessary to develop a strategy for therapeutic exploitation in the treatment of asthma.