Deepak A. Desphande, PhD
To learn more about Dr. Deshpande’s background and how to contact him, see his profile.
Dr. Desphande’s Laboratory studies intracellular signaling regulating contraction, relaxation and proliferation of airway smooth muscle (ASM) cells with particular emphasis on G protein coupled receptor mediated signaling. Asthma is an inflammatory disease of airways and clinically manifested as severe airflow obstruction. ASM is the principle contractile component of airways, and contraction and relaxation of ASM regulate airway diameter. Any alteration in ASM function results in bronchoconstriction and difficulty in breathing. Therefore, ASM acts as a primary therapeutic target in obstructive airway diseases such as asthma and COPD. Delineating novel receptors and signaling mechanisms that regulate ASM function would provide basis for developing newer and better drugs to treat asthma.
Current projects include understanding age-dependent changes in airway smooth muscle function (funded by NIA/NIH) and bitter taste receptor signaling in airway smooth muscle (funded by American Asthma Foundation). Changes in lung functions during aging have been well appreciated; however, the cellular and molecular mechanism underlying age-dependent changes in respiratory functions are not understood. The studies in this project aim at delineating aging effects on ASM functions.
Our previous study demonstrated expression of bitter taste receptors on human ASM cells. Further, stimulation of airways and whole lung in vivo with bitter tastants induces efficacious bronchodilation. Bitter taste receptors can be exploited as novel therapeutic targets in asthma. Current studies are aimed at establishing acute and chronic intracellular signaling by bitter tastants in ASM cells.
Pawan Sharma, Ph.D
Postdoctoral Research Fellow