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Pulm Pharmacol Ther. 2012 Feb;25(1):115-8. doi: 10.1016/j.pupt.2011.12.012. Epub 2012 Jan 6.

PGE(2) receptor (EP(4)) agonists: potent dilators of human bronchi and future asthma therapy?

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INSERM U698, CHU X. Bichat, 46 rue Huchard, 75018 Paris, France.



Asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are characterized by inappropriate constriction of the airway smooth muscle. In this context, the physiological response of the human airways to selective relaxant agonists like PGE(2) is highly relevant. The aim of this study was thus to characterize the PGE(2) receptor subtypes (EP(2) or EP(4)) involved in the relaxation of human bronchial preparations.


Human bronchial preparations cut as rings were mounted in organ baths for isometric recording of tension and a pharmacological study was performed using selective EP(2) or EP(4) ligands.


In the presence of a thromboxane TP receptor antagonist and indomethacin, PGE(2) induced the relaxation of human bronchi (E(max) = 86 ± 04% of papaverine response; pEC(50) value = 7.06 ± 0.13; n = 6). This bronchodilation was significantly blocked by a selective EP(4) receptor antagonist (GW627368X, 1 and 10 μmol/L) with a pK(B) value of 6.38 ± 0.19 (n = 5). In addition, the selective EP(4) receptor agonists (ONO-AE1-329; L-902688), but not the selective EP(2) receptor agonist (ONO-AE1-259), induced potent relaxation of bronchial preparations pre-contracted with histamine or anti-IgE.


PGE(2) and EP(4) agonists induced potent relaxations of human bronchial preparations via EP(4) receptor. These observations suggest that EP(4) receptor agonists could constitute therapeutic agents to treat the increased airway resistance in asthma.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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