Esophageal visceral hypersensitivity has been proposed to be the pathogenesis of heartburn sensation in nonerosive reflux disease. Protease-activated receptor-2 (PAR-2) is expressed in human esophageal epithelial cells and is believed to play a role in inflammation and sensation. PAR-2 activation may modulate these responses through adenosine triphosphate (ATP) release, which is involved in transduction of sensation and pain. The transient receptor potential vanilloid receptor 1 (TRPV1) and acid-sensing ion channels (ASICs) are both acid-sensitive nociceptors. However, the interaction among these molecules and the mechanisms of heartburn sensation are still not clear. We therefore examined whether ATP release in human esophageal epithelial cells in response to acid is modulated by TRPV1 and ASICs and whether PAR-2 activation influences the sensitivity of TRPV1 and ASICs. Weak acid (pH 5) stimulated the release of ATP from primary human esophageal epithelial cells (HEECs). This effect was significantly reduced after pretreatment with 5-iodoresiniferatoxin (IRTX), a TRPV1-specific antagonist, or with amiloride, a nonselective ASIC blocker. TRPV1 and ASIC3 small interfering RNA (siRNA) transfection also decreased weak acid-induced ATP release. Pretreatment of HEECs with trypsin, tryptase, or a PAR-2 agonist enhanced weak acid-induced ATP release. Trypsin treatment led to the phosphorylation of TRPV1. Acid-induced ATP release enhancement by trypsin was partially blocked by IRTX, amiloride, or a PAR-2 antagonist. Conversely, acid-induced ATP release was augmented by PAR-2 activation through TRPV1 and ASICs. These findings suggested that the pathophysiology of heartburn sensation or esophageal hypersensitivity may be associated with the activation of PAR-2, TRPV1, and ASICs.
Keywords: acid-sensing ion channel 3; adenosine triphosphate; protease-activated receptor-2; transient receptor potential vanilloid receptor 1; weak acid.
Copyright © 2015 the American Physiological Society.