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Contraction of airway smooth muscle is regulated by receptor-coupled mechanisms that control the force developed for a given cytosolic calcium concentration (i.e., calcium sensitivity). Halothane antagonizes acetylcholine-induced increases in calcium sensitivity by inhibiting GTP-binding (G)-protein pathways. The authors tested the hypothesis that hexanol, like halothane, inhibits agonist-induced increases in calcium sensitivity in airway smooth muscle by inhibiting G-protein pathways. Calcium sensitivity was assessed using alpha-toxin-permeabilized canine tracheal smooth muscle. In selected experiments, regulatory myosin light chain phosphorylation was also determined by Western blotting in the presence and absence of 10 mm hexanol and/or 100 microm acetylcholine. Hexanol (10 mm) and halothane (0.76 mm) attenuated acetylcholine-induced calcium sensitization by decreasing regulatory myosin light chain phosphorylation during receptor stimulation. Hexanol also inhibited increases in calcium sensitivity due to direct stimulation of heterotrimeric G-proteins with tetrafluoroaluminate but not with 3 microm GTPgammaS, consistent with prior results obtained with halothane. In contrast, in the absence of receptor stimulation, both compounds produced a small increase in calcium sensitivity by a G-protein-mediated increase in regulatory myosin light chain phosphorylation that was not affected by pertussis toxin treatment. The authors noted dual effects of hexanol and halothane. In the presence of muscarinic receptor stimulation, hexanol, like halothane, decreases calcium sensitivity by interfering with heterotrimeric G-protein function. However, in the absence of muscarinic receptor stimulation, hexanol and halothane slightly increase calcium sensitivity by a G-protein-mediated process not sensitive to pertussis toxin. Hexanol may represent a useful experimental tool to study the effect of anesthetics on heterotrimeric G-protein function.


Hayashi Yoshimura, Keith A Jones, William J Perkins, David O Warner. Dual effects of hexanol and halothane on the regulation of calcium sensitivity in airway smooth muscle. Anesthesiology. 2003 Apr;98(4):871-80

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PMID: 12657848

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