Nociceptin/Orphanin Fq in inflammation and remodeling of the small airways in experimental model of airway hyperresponsiveness

Gioia Tartaglione, Giuseppe Spaziano, Manuela Sgambato, Teresa Palmira Russo, Angela Liparulo, Renata Esposito, Salvatore Mirra, Rosanna Filosa, Fiorentina Roviezzo, Francesca Polverino, Bruno D'Agostino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


It is widely recognized that airway inflammation and remodeling play a key role not only in the central airway but also small airway pathology during asthma. Nociceptin/Orphanin FQ (N/OFQ), an endogenous peptide, and its receptor N/OFQ peptide (NOP) are involved in airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR). We studied a murine model of AHR in order to understand the role of N/OFQ in the inflammation and remodeling of the small airways. Balb/c mice were sensitized to ovalbumin (OVA). At days 0 and 7 (pre-OVA sensitization) or from day 21 to 23 (post-OVA sensitization), the mice were treated intraperitoneally with N/OFQ or saline solution. After the last OVA challenge, all OVA-sensitized mice were aerosol-challenged with 1% OVA in PBS for 48 h, and then euthanized. Small airway compliance (sCaw) was measured and lung samples were collected for histological and molecular evaluations such as perimeter and diameter of small airway, total wall area, airway smooth muscle (ASM) thickness and number of alveolar attachments. Both pre- and post-OVA sensitization N/OFQ treatments induced: (1) increases in sCaw; (2) reduction of the bronchial wall thickness; (3) attenuation of the hyperplastic phase of airway smooth muscle mass; and (4) protection against loss of alveolar attachments compared with saline solution treatments. These results suggest that N/OFQ protects against inflammation, and mechanical damage and remodeling of small airways caused by OVA sensitization, suggesting a new potential therapeutic target for asthma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere13906
JournalPhysiological reports
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Airway remodeling
  • Asthma
  • N/OFQ
  • Small airways

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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