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PLoS One. 2014 Jan 22;9(1):e86091. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0086091. eCollection 2014.

Bronchodilatory and anti-inflammatory effects of ASM-024, a nicotinic receptor ligand, developed for the treatment of asthma.

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  • 1Institut Universitaire de Cardiologie et de Pneumologie de Québec, Québec, QC, Canada ; Asmacure Ltée, Québec, QC, Canada.
  • 2Institut Universitaire de Cardiologie et de Pneumologie de Québec, Québec, QC, Canada.


Conventional asthma and COPD treatments include the use of bronchodilators, mainly β2-adrenergic agonists, muscarinic receptor antagonists and corticosteroids or leukotriene antagonists as anti-inflammatory agents. These active drugs are administered either separately or given as a fixed-dose combination medication into a single inhaler. ASM-024, a homopiperazinium compound, derived from the structural modification of diphenylmethylpiperazinium (DMPP), has been developed to offer an alternative mechanism of action that could provide symptomatic control through combined anti-inflammatory and bronchodilator properties in a single entity. A dose-dependent inhibition of cellular inflammation in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid was observed in ovalbumin-sensitized mice, subsequently treated for 3 days by nose-only exposure with aerosolized ASM-024 at doses up to 3.8 mg/kg (ED50 = 0.03 mg/kg). The methacholine ED250 values indicated that airway hyperresponsivenness (AHR) to methacholine decreased following ASM-024 administration by inhalation at a dose of 1.5 mg/kg, with a value of 0.145 ± 0.032 mg/kg for ASM 024-treated group as compared to 0.088 ± 0.023 mg/kg for untreated mice. In in vitro isometric studies, ASM-024 elicited dose-dependent relaxation of isolated mouse tracheal, human, and dog bronchial preparations contracted with methacholine and guinea pig tracheas contracted with histamine. ASM-024 showed also a dose and time dependant protective effect on methacholine-induced contraction. Overall, with its combined anti-inflammatory, bronchodilating and bronchoprotective properties, ASM-024 may represent a new class of drugs with a novel pharmacological approach that could prove useful for the chronic maintenance treatment of asthma and, possibly, COPD.

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