by Hartmut Grasemann, Darakhshanda Shehnaz, Masahiro Enomoto, Michael Leadley, Jaques Belik, Felix Ratjen
Increased arginase activity contributes to airway nitric oxide (NO) deficiency in cystic fibrosis (CF). Whether down-stream products of arginase activity contribute to CF lung disease is currently unknown. The objective of this study was to test whether L-ornithine derived polyamines are present in CF airways and contribute to airway pathophysiology. Polyamine concentrations were measured in sputum of patients with CF and in healthy controls, using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. The effect of spermine on airway smooth muscle mechanical properties was assessed in bronchial segments of murine airways, using a wire myograph. Sputum polyamine concentrations in stable CF patients were similar to healthy controls for putrescine and spermidine but significantly higher for spermine. Pulmonary exacerbations were associated with an increase in sputum and spermine levels. Treatment for pulmonary exacerbations resulted in decreases in arginase activity, L-ornithine and spermine concentrations in sputum. The changes in sputum spermine with treatment correlated significantly with changes in L-ornithine but not with sputum inflammatory markers. Incubation of mouse bronchi with spermine resulted in an increase in acetylcholine-induced force and significantly reduced nitric oxide-induced bronchial relaxation. The polyamine spermine is increased in CF airways. Spermine contributes to airways obstruction by reducing the NO-mediated smooth muscle relaxation.