CAMP-mediated secretion of brain-derived neurotrophic factor in developing airway smooth muscle

Michael A. Thompson, Rodney D. Britt, Ine Kuipers, Alecia Stewart, James Thu, Hitesh C. Pandya, Peter MacFarlane, Christina M. Pabelick, Richard J. Martin, Y. S. Prakash

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Moderate hyperoxic exposure in preterm infants contributes to subsequent airway dysfunction and to risk of developing recurrent wheeze and asthma. The regulatory mechanisms that can contribute to hyperoxia-induced airway dysfunction are still under investigation. Recent studies in mice show that hyperoxia increases brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a growth factor that increases airway smooth muscle (ASM) proliferation and contractility. We assessed the mechanisms underlying effects of moderate hyperoxia (50% O2) on BDNF expression and secretion in developing human ASM. Hyperoxia increased BDNF secretion, but did not alter endogenous BDNF mRNA or intracellular protein levels. Exposure to hyperoxia significantly increased [Ca2+]i responses to histamine, an effect blunted by the BDNF chelator TrkB-Fc. Hyperoxia also increased ASM cAMP levels, associated with reduced PDE4 activity, but did not alter protein kinase A (PKA) activity or adenylyl cyclase mRNA levels. However, 50% O2 increased expression of Epac2, which is activated by cAMP and can regulate protein secretion. Silencing RNA studies indicated that Epac2, but not Epac1, is important for hyperoxia-induced BDNF secretion, while PKA inhibition did not influence BDNF secretion. In turn, BDNF had autocrine effects of enhancing ASM cAMP levels, an effect inhibited by TrkB and BDNF siRNAs. Together, these novel studies suggest that hyperoxia can modulate BDNF secretion, via cAMP-mediated Epac2 activation in ASM, resulting in a positive feedback effect of BDNF-mediated elevation in cAMP levels. The potential functional role of this pathway is to sustain BDNF secretion following hyperoxic stimulus, leading to enhanced ASM contractility and proliferation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2506-2514
Number of pages9
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Cell Research
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2015


  • Cyclic nucleotide
  • Development
  • Epac
  • Hyperoxia
  • Lung
  • Neurotrophin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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