Inflammation alters regional mitochondrial Ca2+ in human airway smooth muscle cells

Philippe Delmotte, Binxia Yang, Michael A. Thompson, Christina M. Pabelick, Y. S. Prakash, Gary C. Sieck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Regulation of cytosolic Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]cyt) in airway smooth muscle (ASM) is a key aspect of airway contractility and can be modulated by inflammation. Mitochondria have tremendous potential for buffering [Ca2+]cyt, helping prevent Ca2+ overload, and modulating other intracellular events. Here, compartmentalization of mitochondria to different cellular regions may subserve different roles. In the present study, we examined the role of Ca2+ buffering by mitochondria and mitochondrial Ca2+ transport mechanisms in the regulation of [Ca2+]cyt in enzymatically dissociated human ASM cells upon exposure to the proinflammatory cytokines TNF-α and IL-13. Cells were loaded simultaneously with fluo-3 AM and rhod-2 AM, and [Ca2+]cyt and mitochondrial Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]mito) were measured, respectively, using real-time two-color fluorescence microscopy in both the perinuclear and distal, perimembranous regions of cells. Histamine induced a rapid increase in both [Ca2+]cyt and [Ca2+]mito, with a significant delay in the mitochondrial response. Inhibition of the mitochondrial Na+/Ca2+ exchanger (1 μM CGP- 37157) increased [Ca2+]mito responses in perinuclear mitochondria but not distal mitochondria. Inhibition of the mitochondrial uniporter (1 μM Ru360) decreased [Ca2+]mito responses in perinuclear and distal mitochondria. CGP-37157 and Ru360 significantly enhanced histamine-induced [Ca2+]cyt. TNF-α and IL-13 both increased [Ca2+]cyt, which was associated with decreased [Ca2+]mito in the case of TNF-α but not IL-13. The effects of TNF-α on both [Ca2+]cyt and [Ca2+]mito were affected by CGP-37157 but not by Ru360. Overall, these data demonstrate that in human ASM cells, mitochondria buffer [Ca2+]cyt after agonist stimulation and its enhancement by inflammation. The differential regulation of [Ca2+]mito in different parts of ASM cells may serve to locally regulate Ca2+ fluxes from intracellular sources versus the plasma membrane as well as respond to differential energy demands at these sites. We propose that such differential mitochondrial regulation, and its disruption, may play a role in airway hyperreactivity in diseases such as asthma, where [Ca2+]cyt is increased.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)C244-C256
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2012


  • Bronchial smooth muscle
  • Calcium regulation
  • Inflammation
  • Lung
  • Mitochondrial calcium uniporter
  • Mitochondrial sodium-calcium exchange
  • Sarcoplasmic reticulum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Inflammation alters regional mitochondrial Ca2+ in human airway smooth muscle cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this