Contributions of mechanical signals to airway remodeling during asthma are poorly understood. Transient receptor potential vanilloid 4 (TRPV4), a mechanosensitive ion channel, has been implicated in cardiac and pulmonary fibrosis; however, its role in asthma remains elusive. Employing a Dermatophagoides farinae-induced asthma model, we report here that TRPV4-knockout mice were protected from D. farinae-induced airway remodeling. Furthermore, lung fibroblasts that were isolated from TRPV4-knockout mice showed diminished differentiation potential compared with wild-type mice. Fibroblasts from asthmatic lung exhibited increased TRPV4 activity and enhanced differentiation potential compared with normal human lung fibroblasts. Of interest, TGF-β1 treatment enhanced TRPV4 activation in a PI3K-dependent manner in normal human lung fibroblasts in vitro Mechanistically, TRPV4 modulated matrix remodeling in the lung via 2 distinct but dependent pathways: one enhances matrix deposition by fibrotic gene activation, whereas the other slows down matrix degradation by increased plasminogen activator inhibitor 1. Of importance, both pathways are regulated by Rho/myocardin-related transcription factor-A and contribute to fibroblast differentiation and matrix remodeling in the lung. Thus, our results support a unique role for TRPV4 in D. farinae-induced airway remodeling and warrant further studies in humans for it to be used as a novel therapeutic target in the treatment of asthma.-Gombedza, F., Kondeti, V., Al-Azzam, N., Koppes, S., Duah, E., Patil, P., Hexter, M., Phillips, D., Thodeti, C. K., Paruchuri, S. Mechanosensitive transient receptor potential vanilloid 4 regulates Dermatophagoides farinae-induced airway remodeling via 2 distinct pathways modulating matrix synthesis and degradation.
Keywords: PAI-1; PI3K; TGF-β1; fibronectin; myofibroblasts.