The dopamine D 2 receptor is expressed and sensitizes adenylyl cyclase activity in airway smooth muscle

Kentaro Mizuta, Yi Zhang, Dingbang Xu, Eiji Masaki, Reynold A. Panettieri, Charles W. Emala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Dopamine receptors are G protein-coupled receptors that are divided into two subgroups, "D 1-like" receptors (D 1 and D 5) that couple to the G s protein and "D 2-like" receptors (D 2, D 3, and D 4) that couple to G i. Although inhaled dopamine has been reported to induce bronchodilation in patients with asthma, functional expression of dopamine receptor subtypes has never been described on airway smooth muscle (ASM) cells. Acute activation of G i-coupled receptors inhibits adenylyl cyclase activity and cAMP synthesis, which classically impairs ASM relaxation. In contrast, chronic activation of G i-coupled receptors produces a paradoxical enhancement of adenylyl cyclase activity referred to as het-erologous sensitization. We questioned whether the dopamine D 2-like receptor is expressed on ASM, whether it exhibits classical G i-coupling, and whether it modulates ASM function. We detected the mRNA encoding the dopamine D 2 receptor in total RNA isolated from native human ASM and from cultured human airway smooth muscle (HASM) cells. Immunoblots identified the dopamine D 2 receptor protein in both native human and guinea pig ASM and cultured HASM cells. The dopamine D 2 receptor protein was immu-nohistochemically localized to both human and guinea pig ASM. Acute activation of the dopamine D 2 receptor by quinpirole inhibited forskolin-stimulated adenylyl cyclase activity in HASM cells, which was blocked by the dopamine D 2 receptor antagonist L-741626. In contrast, the chronic pretreatment (1 h) with quinpirole potentiated forskolin-stimulated adenylyl cyclase activity, which was inhibited by L-741626, the phospholipase C inhibitor U73122, or the protein kinase C inhibitor GF109203X. Quinpirole also stimulated inositol phosphate synthesis, which was inhibited by L-741626 or U73122. Chronic pretreatment (1 h) of the guinea pig tracheal rings with quinpirole significantly potentiated forskolin-induced airway relaxation, which was inhibited by L-741626. These results demonstrate that functional dopamine D 2 receptors are expressed on ASM and could be a novel therapeutic target for the relaxation of ASM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L316-L324
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Feb


  • Guinea pig
  • Immunoblot
  • Organ bath
  • Reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cell Biology


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