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Sanguinarine Decreases Cell Stiffness and Traction Force and Inhibits the Reactivity of Airway Smooth Muscle Cells in Culture

Mingzhi Luo1, Kai Ni1, Peili Yu1, Yang Jin2, Lei Liu1, Jingjing Li1, Yan Pan1, Linhong Deng1,*

Changzhou Key Laboratory of Respiratory Medical Engineering, Institute of Biomedical Engineering and Health Sciences, Changzhou University, Changzhou, 213164, China.
Bioengineering College, Chongqing University, Chongqing, 400044, China.

* Corresponding Author: Linhong Deng. Email: .

Molecular & Cellular Biomechanics 2019, 16(2), 141-151.


Airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) is the cardinal character of asthma, which involves the biomechanical properties such as cell stiffness and traction force of airway smooth muscle cells (ASMCs). Therefore, these biomechanical properties comprise logical targets of therapy. β2-adrenergic agonist is currently the mainstream drug to target ASMCs in clinical practice for treating asthma. However, this drug is known for side effects such as desensitization and non-responsiveness in some patients. Therefore, it is desirable to search for new drug agents to be alternative of β2-adrenergic agonist. In this context, sanguinarine, a natural product derived from plants such as bloodroots, that has been reported to relax gut smooth muscle emerges as a potential candidate. So far, it is unknown whether sanguinarine can regulate the biomechanical properties of ASMCs and reactivity of ASMCs to irritants. Thus, we tested the hypothesis that sanguinarine reduce the contractile potentials of ASMCs in culture. To do so, the primary cultured rat ASMCs were first treated with different concentration of sanguinarine. Then, cell stiffness, traction force, fiber distribution, and calcium signaling of the ASMCs were evaluated by optical magnetic twisting cytometry, Fourier transform traction microscopy, atomic force microscopy, and Fluo-4/AM based fluorescence confocal scanning microscopy, respectively. The results indicated that sanguinarine (0.05 and 0.5 μmol/L) significantly decreased cell stiffness and traction force, inhibited reactivity of ASMCs to histamine, and disrupted the fiber structures in ASMCs in dose-dependent manner. These findings establish that sanguinarine can indeed change the biomechanical properties of ASMCs and may be used to treat AHR in asthma.


Cite This Article

Luo, M., Ni, K., Yu, P., Jin, Y., Liu, L. et al. (2019). Sanguinarine Decreases Cell Stiffness and Traction Force and Inhibits the Reactivity of Airway Smooth Muscle Cells in Culture. Molecular & Cellular Biomechanics, 16(2), 141–151.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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