The anti-asthma herbal medicine ASHMI acutely inhibits airway smooth muscle contraction via prostaglandin E2 activation of EP2/EP4 receptors

Srivastava Kamal, Hugh A. Sampson, Charles W. Emala, Xiu Min Li

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15 Scopus citations


Our previous studies have shown that the anti-asthma traditional Chinese medicine herbal formula ASHMI (anti-asthma simplified herbal medicine intervention) inhibits acetylcholine-induced contractions of tracheal rings from ovalbumin-sensitized and naive mice in a (β-adreno-ceptor-independent manner. We sought to determine whether acute in vivo ASHMI administration inhibits airway hyperreactivity (AHR) in a murine model of allergic asthma and acetylcholine-induced tracheal ring constriction ex vivo and to elucidate the cellular mechanisms underlying these effects. Ovalbumin-sensitized mice received a single oral ASHMI dose 2 h before intravenous acetylcholine challenge. AHR was determined by invasive airway measurements. Myography was used to determine the effects of ASHMI on acetylcholine-induced constriction of tracheal rings from asthmatic mice with or without epithelial denudation. The effect of cyclooxygenase inhibition and EP2/EP4 receptor blockade on ASHMI attenuation of acetylcholine contractions was evaluated. Tracheal cAMP and PGE2 levels were measured by ELISA. A single acute oral dose of ASHMI dramatically reduced AHR in response to acetylcholine provocation in ovalbumin-sensitized mice (P < 0.001). In ex vivo experiments, ASHMI significantly and dose-dependently reduced tracheal ring constriction to acetylcholine (P < 0.05-0.001), which was epithelium independent and associated with elevated cAMP levels. This effect was abrogated by cyclooxygenase inhibition or EP2/EP4 receptor blockade. ASHMI also inhibited contraction to high K+ (P < 0.001). ASHMI increased tracheal ring PGE2 release in response to acetylcholine or high K+ (P < 0.05 for both). ASHMI produced direct and acute inhibition of AHR in vivo and blocked acetylcholine-induced tracheal ring constriction via the EP2/EP4 receptor pathway, identifying the mechanism by which ASHMI is an orally active bronchoprotective agent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L1002-L1010
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - 15 Dec 2013


  • Contraction
  • Mice
  • Myography
  • Ovalbumin sensitization
  • PGE
  • Tracheal rings


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