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Br J Pharmacol. 1999 Aug;127(7):1641-51.

Bronchodilator and anti-inflammatory activities of glaucine: In vitro studies in human airway smooth muscle and polymorphonuclear leukocytes.

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Departamento de Farmacologia, Facultat de Medicina i Odontologia, Universitat de València, Av. Blasco Ibáñez 15, E-46010 València, Spain.


1. Selective phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4) inhibitors are of potential interest in the treatment of asthma. We examined the effects of the alkaloid S-(+)-glaucine, a PDE4 inhibitor, on human isolated bronchus and granulocyte function. 2. Glaucine selectively inhibited PDE4 from human bronchus and polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMN) in a non-competitive manner (Ki=3.4 microM). Glaucine displaced [3H]-rolipram from its high-affinity binding sites in rat brain cortex membranes (IC50 approximately 100 microM). 3. Glaucine inhibited the spontaneous and histamine-induced tone in human isolated bronchus (pD2 approximately 4.5). Glaucine (10 microM) did not potentiate the isoprenaline-induced relaxation but augmented cyclic AMP accumulation by isoprenaline. The glaucine-induced relaxation was resistant to H-89, a protein kinase A inhibitor. Glaucine depressed the contractile responses to Ca2+ (pD'2 approximately 3.62) and reduced the sustained rise of [Ca2+]i produced by histamine in cultured human airway smooth muscle cells (-log IC50 approximately 4.3). 4. Glaucine augmented cyclic AMP levels in human polymorphonuclear leukocytes challenged with N-formyl-Met-Leu-Phe (FMLP) or isoprenaline, and inhibited FMLP-induced superoxide generation, elastase release, leukotriene B4 production, [Ca2+]i signal and platelet aggregation as well as opsonized zymosan-, phorbol myristate acetate-, and A23187-induced superoxide release. The inhibitory effect of glaucine on superoxide generation by FMLP was reduced by H-89. 5. In conclusion, Ca2+ channel antagonism by glaucine appears mainly responsible for the relaxant effect of glaucine in human isolated bronchus while PDE4 inhibition contributes to the inhibitory effects of glaucine in human granulocytes. The very low PDE4/binding site ratio found for glaucine makes this compound attractive for further structure-activity studies.

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