Control of neurotransmission by NaV1.7 in human, Guinea pig, and mouse airway parasympathetic nerves

Michaela Kocmalova, Marian Kollarik, Brendan J. Canning, Fei Ru, R. Adam Herbstsomer, Sonya Meeker, Silvia Fonquerna, Monica Aparici, Montserrat Miralpeix, Xian Xuan Chi, Baolin Li, Ben Wilenkin, Jeff McDermott, Eric Nisenbaum, Jeffrey L. Krajewski, Bradley J. Undem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Little is known about the neuronal voltage-gated sodium channels (NaVs) that control neurotransmission in the parasympathetic nervous system. We evaluated the expression of the a subunits of each of the nine NaVs in human, guinea pig, and mouse airway parasympathetic ganglia. We combined this information with a pharmacological analysis of selective NaV blockers on parasympathetic contractions of isolated airway smooth muscle. As would be expected from previous studies, tetrodotoxin potently blocked the parasympathetic responses in the airways of each species. Gene expression analysis showed that that NaV 1.7 was virtually the only tetrodotoxin-sensitive NaV1 gene expressed in guinea pig and human airway parasympathetic ganglia, where mouse ganglia expressed NaV1.1, 1.3, and 1.7. Using selective pharmacological blockers supported the gene expression results, showing that blocking NaV1.7 alone can abolish the responses in guinea pig and human bronchi, but not in mouse airways. To block the responses in mouse airways requires that NaV1.7 along with NaV1.1 and/or NaV1.3 is blocked. These results may suggest novel indications for NaV1.7- blocking drugs, in which there is an overactive parasympathetic drive, such as in asthma. The data also raise the potential concern of antiparasympathetic side effects for systemic NaV1.7 blockers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)172-180
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology


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