Ionotropic and metabotropic receptor mediated airway sensory nerve activation

Min Goo Lee, Marian Kollarik, Benjamas Chuaychoo, Bradley J. Undem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


There are several receptors capable of inducing activating generator potentials in cough-associated afferent terminals in the airways. The chemical receptors leading to generator potentials can be subclassified into ionotropic and metabotropic types. An ionotropic receptor has an agonist-binding domain, and also serves directly as an ion channel that is opened upon binding of the agonist. Examples of ionotropic receptors found in airway sensory nerve terminals include receptors for serotonin (5-HT3 receptors), ATP (P2X receptors), acetylcholine (nicotinic receptors), receptors for capsaicin and related vanilloids (TRPV1 receptors), and acid receptors (acid sensing ion channels). Afferent nerve terminals can also be depolarized via activation of metabotropic or G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs). Among the GPCRs that can lead to activation of airway afferent fibers include bradykinin B2 and adenosine A1 receptors. The signaling events leading to GPCR-mediated membrane depolarization are more complex than that seen with ionotropic receptors. The GPCR-mediated effects are thought to occur through classical second messenger systems such as activation of phospholipase C. This may lead to membrane depolarization through interaction with specific ionotropic receptors (such as TRPV1) and/or various types of calcium activated channels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)355-360
Number of pages6
JournalPulmonary Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Issue number6 SPEC.ISS.
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Dec
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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