An age-wise comparison of human airway smooth muscle proliferative capacity

PLoS One. 2015 Mar 23;10(3):e0122446. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0122446. eCollection 2015.


We compared the proliferation of neonatal and adult airway smooth muscle cells (ASMC) with no/moderate lung disease, in glucose- (energy production by glycolysis) or glucose-free medium (ATP production from mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylations only), in response to 10% fetal calf serum (FCS) and PDGF-AA. In the presence of glucose, cell counts were significantly greater in neonatal vs. adult ASMC. Similarly, neonatal ASMC DNA synthesis in 10% FCS and PDGF-AA, and [Ca2+]i responses in the presence of histamine were significantly enhanced vs. adults. In glucose-free medium, cell proliferation was preserved in neonatal cells, unlike in adult cells, with concomitant increased porin (an indicator of mitochondrial activity) protein expression. Compared to adults, stimulated neonatal human ASMC are in a rapid and robust proliferative phase and have the capacity to respond disproportionately under abnormal environmental conditions, through increased mitochondrial biogenesis and altered calcium homeostasis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Calcium Signaling
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • DNA / metabolism
  • Female
  • Glucose / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lung Diseases / metabolism
  • Lung Diseases / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Myocytes, Smooth Muscle / cytology
  • Myocytes, Smooth Muscle / drug effects
  • Myocytes, Smooth Muscle / metabolism*
  • Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor Gamma Coactivator 1-alpha
  • Platelet-Derived Growth Factor / pharmacology
  • TRPC Cation Channels / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Proteins
  • CEBPA protein, human
  • PPARGC1A protein, human
  • Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor Gamma Coactivator 1-alpha
  • Platelet-Derived Growth Factor
  • TRPC Cation Channels
  • Transcription Factors
  • platelet-derived growth factor A
  • transient receptor potential cation channel, subfamily C, member 1
  • DNA
  • Glucose
  • Calcium

Grants and funding

The authors have no support or funding to report.