Brain-derived neurotrophic factor enhances histamine-induced airway responses and changes levels of exhaled nitric oxide in guinea pigs in vivo

Eur J Pharmacol. 2008 Oct 24;595(1-3):78-83. doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2008.07.041. Epub 2008 Jul 30.


The neurotrophin brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) occurs in elevated levels during airway inflammation, including asthma and hypoxic lung injury, and has been suggested to be associated with airway hyperresponsiveness in these conditions. The aim of the present study was to examine whether airway responses to histamine challenge and levels of exhaled nitric oxide (NO) in vivo might be altered upon BDNF treatment. Pulmonary resistance, lung compliance, insufflation pressure, and levels of exhaled NO were measured in anaesthetized guinea pigs exposed to BDNF prior to challenge with histamine and with intact or inhibited endogenous NO production. BDNF pretreatment significantly enhanced histamine-evoked increase in pulmonary resistance and insufflation pressure, as well as the decrease in lung compliance. BDNF markedly accentuated the reduction in exhaled NO following histamine challenge. In animals with inhibited endogenous NO production BDNF induced a significantly earlier histamine-evoked increase in airway responses. The present data show that BDNF can induce an augmentation of histamine-evoked airway responses and reduce levels of NO in exhaled air in vivo. Endogenous NO seems to exert a braking action on BDNF-induced enhancement of airway responses and a reduced ability to release NO may be one mechanism for increased airway response during elevated BDNF levels. Taken together this indicates that BDNF may be of importance for airway hyperresponsiveness in vivo. The interaction between BDNF and airway NO formation, and its relation to airway responses, merit further investigation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Animals
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / administration & dosage
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / metabolism*
  • Bronchial Hyperreactivity / metabolism
  • Bronchial Hyperreactivity / physiopathology
  • Bronchoconstriction / drug effects*
  • Bronchoconstrictor Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Exhalation*
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Histamine / administration & dosage*
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Lung / blood supply
  • Lung / drug effects*
  • Lung / metabolism
  • Lung / physiopathology
  • Lung Compliance / drug effects
  • Male
  • NG-Nitroarginine Methyl Ester / pharmacology
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism*
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase / metabolism
  • Pressure
  • Time Factors
  • Vascular Resistance / drug effects


  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • Bronchoconstrictor Agents
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Histamine
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase
  • NG-Nitroarginine Methyl Ester