Prolonged increase in ciliary beat frequency after short-term purinergic stimulation in human airway epithelial cells

J Physiol. 2002 Jan 15;538(Pt 2):633-46. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2001.013222.


Stimulation of ovine airway epithelial cells with 10 microM ATP for 1 min at 25 degrees C transiently increased both cytoplasmic calcium (fura-2 epifluorescence microscopy) and ciliary beat frequency (CBF; differential interference contrast microscopy) with a similar time course. Identical purinergic stimulation of human airway epithelial cells at 25 or 35 degrees C, however, lead to an increase in CBF that outlasted the calcium transient at least 20 min. While a nitric oxide synthase inhibitor had no effect, pre-treatment of human cells with inhibitors of cAMP-dependent kinase (PKA), 10 microM myristoylated PKA-inhibitory peptide and 1 microM KT-5720, as well as an inhibitor of adenylyl cyclase, 1 mM SQ22536, blocked the prolonged, but not calcium-coupled CBF increase. Addition of PKA inhibitors after purinergic stimulation only partially reduced CBF from its elevated plateau. Prolonged CBF increases did not depend on adenosine production as 10 microM UTP had an effect similar to ATP and 8-sulphophenyl-theophylline did not block them. After increasing human CBF in a PKA-dependent manner to a stable plateau with forskolin (10 microM), ATP caused only a transient, calcium-coupled CBF increase. Calcium transients were necessary for both short-term and prolonged CBF changes as ATP failed to produce CBF increases after emptying calcium stores with 1 microM thapsigargin. These data suggest that in human, but not ovine airway epithelial cells, ATP-induced calcium transients activate a signalling cascade including adenylyl cyclase and PKA. The resulting prolonged CBF stimulation does not rely only on PKA activity, suggesting that the decay of CBF is influenced by ciliary phosphatase activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adenine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Adenine / pharmacology
  • Adenosine Triphosphate / pharmacology
  • Adenylyl Cyclase Inhibitors
  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cilia / drug effects
  • Cilia / physiology*
  • Colforsin / pharmacology
  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Cyclic GMP-Dependent Protein Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Epithelial Cells / drug effects
  • Epithelial Cells / physiology
  • Extracellular Space / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Indazoles / pharmacology
  • Intracellular Membranes / metabolism
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Osmolar Concentration
  • Purines / pharmacology*
  • Sheep
  • Time Factors
  • Trachea / cytology
  • Trachea / drug effects
  • Trachea / physiology*


  • 3-bromo-7-nitroindazole
  • Adenylyl Cyclase Inhibitors
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Indazoles
  • Purines
  • 9-(tetrahydro-2-furyl)-adenine
  • Colforsin
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase
  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinases
  • Cyclic GMP-Dependent Protein Kinases
  • Adenine
  • Calcium