Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin
Online ISSN : 1347-5215
Print ISSN : 0918-6158
ISSN-L : 0918-6158
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Chemical Activation of Piezo1 Alters Biomechanical Behaviors toward Relaxation of Cultured Airway Smooth Muscle Cells
Mingzhi LuoKai NiRong GuYouyuan QinJia GuoBo CheYan PanJingjing LiLei LiuLinhong Deng
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2023 Volume 46 Issue 1 Pages 1-11


Inspired by the well-known phenomenon of stretch-induced airway dilation in normal lungs and the emerging stretch-responsive Piezo1 channels that can be chemically activated by specific agonists such as Yoda1, we attempted to investigate whether chemical activation of Piezo1 by Yoda1 can modulate the biomechanical behaviors of airway smooth muscle cells (ASMCs) so that it may be exploited as a novel approach for bronchodilation. Thus, we treated in vitro cultured rat ASMCs with Yoda1, and examined the cells for calcium signaling, cell stiffness, traction force, cell migration, and the mRNA expression and distribution of molecules relevant to cell biomechanics. The data show that ASMCs expressed abundant mRNA of Piezo1. ASMCs exposed to 1 µM Yoda1 exhibited a potent but transient Ca2+ signaling, and treatment with 1 µM Yoda1 for 24 h led to decreased cell stiffness and traction force, all of which were partially reversed by Piezo1 inhibitor GsMTx4 and Piezo1 knockdown, respectively. In addition, ASMCs treated with 1 µM Yoda1 for 24 h exhibited impaired horizontal but enhanced vertical cell migration, as well as significant changes in key components of cells’ contractile machinery including the structure and distribution of stress fibers and alpha-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) fibrils, the mRNA expression of molecules associated with cell biomechanics. These results provide the first evidence that chemical activation of Piezo1 by Yoda1 resulted in marked pro-relaxation alterations of biomechanical behaviors and contractile machinery of the ASMCs. These findings suggest that Piezo1-specific agonists may indeed have great potential as alternative drug agents for relaxing ASMCs.

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