Halothane attenuation of calcium sensitivity in airway smooth muscle: Mechanisms of action during muscarinic receptor stimulation

Dorothee H. Bremerich, Akihito Hirasaki, Keith A. Jones, David O. Warner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Background: In airway smooth muscle, muscarinic receptor stimulation is thought to increase calcium (Ca2+) sensitivity via a guanosine 5'- triphosphate (GTP)-binding protein/protein kinase C (PKC)-mediated mechanism. This study tested the hypothesis that halothane reduces Ca2+ sensitivity during muscarinic receptor stimulation by inhibiting these second messenger pathways. Methods: A β-escin permeabilized canine tracheal smooth muscle preparation was used in which the cytosolic Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+](i)) is controlled and the GTP-binding protein/PKC pathways remain intact and can be activated. The muscarinic receptor was activated with acetylcholine plus GTP; the GTP-binding proteins were directly activated with a nonhydrolyzable form of GTP, guanosine 5'-O-(3-thiotriphosphate; GTPγS); and PKC was directly activated with the PKC agonist phorbol 12,13-dibutyrate (PDBu). Results: Free Ca2+ caused a concentration-dependent increase in force. Acetylcholine plus GTP significantly decreased the median effective concentration for free Ca2+ from 0.52 ± 0.06 μM to 0.21 ± 0.02 μM, demonstrating an increase in Ca2+ sensitivity. Halothane (0.99 ± 0.44 mM, equivalent to approximately 4 minimum alveolar concentration in dogs) significantly attenuated this increase in Ca2+ sensitivity induced by acetylcholine plus GTP, increasing the median effective concentration for free Ca2+ from 0.21 ± 0.02 μM to 0.31 ± 0.03 μM. However, halothane did not affect the increases in Ca2+ sensitivity induced by GTPγS or PDBu. Conclusions: Halothane had no effect on increased Ca2+ sensitivity caused by direct activation of GTP-binding proteins with GTPγS or PKC with PDBu, suggesting that halothane attenuates acetylcholine-induced Ca2+ sensitization via a mechanism independent of these pathways in β-escin- permeabilized canine tracheal smooth muscle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)94-101
Number of pages8
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 23 1997


  • Calcium sensitivity
  • Lung, trachea: canine; smooth muscle
  • Muscle, smooth: airway, trachea
  • Pharmacology: acetylcholine; guanosine 5'-triphosphate (GTP); guanosine 5'-O-(3-thiotriphosphate) (GTPγS); guanosine 5'-O-(2-thiodiphosphate) (GDPβS); halothane; phorbol 12,13- dibutyrate (PDBu)
  • Second messenger systems: GTP-binding proteins; protein kinase C
  • β-escin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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