Le gain de force du muscle lisse des voies aériennes dans l'asthme : une étude translationnelle

Authors: Gazzola, Morgan
Advisor: Bossé, Ynuk
Abstract: Asthma is an obstructive respiratory disorder affecting more than 330 million people worldwide. The symptoms include breathlessness, chest oppression, wheezing and cough. The symptoms are variable in nature and severity and generally coincide with the inhalation of environmental factors (viruses, allergens, pollution…). The pathology of asthma is characterized by several typical features, such as airway inflammation, airway remodeling and airway hyperresponsiveness. The research team of Dr Ynuk Bossé is specialized in the study of lung physiology and airway smooth muscle mechanics. Of particular interest is a phenomenon called ‘force adaptation’. Force adaptation is a time-dependent gain in the contractile capacity of airway smooth muscle in response to tone (i.e., a sustained contraction). This phenomenon was observed in vitro in isolated ovine and murine tissues, as well as in vivo in mice. Previous work has demonstrated that the presence of tone, provoked by repeated exposures to low doses of methacholine during 20 min, increases airway responsiveness to the inhalation of a high dose of methacholine. The aim of this thesis was to decipher the molecular mechanisms of force adaptation in vitro and to explore the impact of this phenomenon on respiratory function in vivo. In a first study, which was conducted at the beginning of my PhD, we assessed the effect of tone on airway responsiveness in young healthy adults. We demonstrated that tone, which was generated by repeated inhalations of low doses of methacholine during 30 min, enhances airway responsiveness to a high dose of methacholine. Moreover, with the use of the force oscillation technique, we demonstrated that this effect was predominant in the peripheral airways. Therefore, this study confirmed that airway smooth muscle tone increases airway responsiveness in young healthy adults. In a second study, conducted over the entire course of my PhD, we investigated the molecular mechanisms responsible for the gain in contractile capacity induced by tone. We observed that force adaptation does not rely on molecular mechanisms enhancing the phosphorylation of the myosin light chain but rather occurs in conjunction with an increase in actin filamentogenesis. We further demonstrated that this increase in actin filamentogenesis may stem not only from actin polymerization but also from the inhibition of actin filament depolymerization via the inhibition of the protein cofilin. Therefore, the results of this study suggested that tone increase the contractile capacity of airway smooth muscle by fostering actin filamentogenesis. Finally, in a third study started at the end of my PhD, we are trying to understand the links between the gain in contractile capacity induced by tone and airway inflammation in asthma. We are using a mouse model of allergic airway inflammation induced by repeated exposures to house dust mite. While allergic inflammation increases airway responsiveness, it seems to diminish the phenomenon of force adaptation. However, the results obtained so far will require further investigations. It is currently impossible to reach authoritative conclusions. We are still left wondering whether airway inflammation alters the gain in contractile capacity induced by tone. Overall, this thesis is demonstrated that force adaptation increases airway responsiveness in vivo in human and, at the molecular level, the phenomenon seems to rely on an active remodeling of the actin cytoskeleton. Moreover, this thesis opens new research areas, which will need to be further explored in order to determine whether the gain in contractile capacity induced by tone is implicated in airway hyperresponsiveness in asthma
Document Type: Thèse de doctorat
Issue Date: 2019
Open Access Date: 15 November 2019
Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11794/37226
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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