Nicotine Stimulates Nerve Growth Factor in Lung Fibroblasts through an NFκB-Dependent MechanismReportar como inadecuado

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Airway hyperresponsiveness AHR is classically found in asthma, and persistent AHR is associated with poor asthma control. Although airway smooth muscle ASM cells play a critical pathophysiologic role in AHR, the paracrine contributions of surrounding cells such as fibroblasts to the contractile phenotype of ASM cells have not been examined fully. This study addresses the hypothesis that nicotine promotes a contractile ASM cell phenotype by stimulating fibroblasts to increase nerve growth factor NGF secretion into the environment.


Primary lung fibroblasts isolated from wild type and α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor α7 nAChR deficient mice were treated with nicotine 50 µg-ml in vitro for 72 hours. NGF levels were measured in culture media and in bronchoalveolar lavage BAL fluid from asthmatic, smoking and non-smoking subjects by ELISA. The role of the NFκB pathway in nicotine-induced NGF expression was investigated by measuring NFκB nuclear translocation, transcriptional activity, chromatin immunoprecipitation assays, and si-p65 NFκB knockdown. The ability of nicotine to stimulate a fibroblast-mediated, contractile ASM cell phenotype was confirmed by examining expression of contractile proteins in ASM cells cultured with fibroblast-conditioned media or BAL fluid.


NGF levels were elevated in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid of nicotine-exposed mice, current smokers, and asthmatic children. Nicotine increased NGF secretion in lung fibroblasts in vitro in a dose-dependent manner and stimulated NFκB nuclear translocation, p65 binding to the NGF promoter, and NFκB transcriptional activity. These responses were attenuated in α7 nAChR deficient fibroblasts and in wild type fibroblasts following NFκB inhibition. Nicotine-treated, fibroblast-conditioned media increased expression of contractile proteins in ASM cells.


Nicotine stimulates NGF release by lung fibroblasts through α7 nAChR and NFκB dependent pathways. These novel findings suggest that the nicotine-α7 nAChR-NFκB- NGF axis may provide novel therapeutic targets to attenuate tobacco smoke-induced AHR.

Autor: Cherry Wongtrakool , Kora Grooms, Kaiser M. Bijli, Kristina Crothers, Anne M. Fitzpatrick, C. Michael Hart



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