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 α 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.
- Received October 25, 2016.
- Accepted January 26, 2017.
This work was supported by National Institutes of Health Heart and Blood Institute [Grant R01HL122228] and Biomedical Center Martin, Slovakia [Grant ITMS 26220220187].
- Copyright © 2017 by The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics