Pharmacology of airways and vessels in lung slices in situ : Role of endogenous dilator hormones
Small airway and vessels play a critical role in chronic airway and pulmonary vascular diseases, but their pharmacology has not been well characterised. We have studied airway and vascular responses in rat lung slices and separately in vitro using myography. In lung slices, under basal conditions, acetylcholine contracted airways, but had no vascular effect. The thromboxane mimetic, U46619 contracted both vessels and airways. In the presence of U46619, acetylcholine dilated vessels, but further contracted airways, an effect that was blocked by the nitric oxide synthase inhibitor L-N-nitro-L-arginine or apamin plus charybdotoxin, which inhibit endothelial-derived hyperpolarising factor. Airway responses in lung slices were unaffected by L-Nnitro-L-arginine methyl ester, indomethacin or apamin plus charybdotoxin. By contrast, apamin plus charybdotoxin contracted bronchi studied in isolation. Our observations are the first to identify mechanisms of endothelium dependent dilations in precision cut lung slices and the potential for transverse hormonal communication between airways and vessels.