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Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 1994 May;10(5):565-72.

Theophylline suppresses human alveolar macrophage respiratory burst through phosphodiesterase inhibition.

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Krankenhaus Grosshansdorf, LVA Hamburg, Germany.


The effects of theophylline upon human alveolar macrophage function were assessed and compared with its action upon macrophage cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterase (PDE) activity and cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) levels. In the concentration range of 10 mumol/liter to 1 mmol/liter, theophylline caused a concentration-dependent inhibition of opsonized zymosan-stimulated hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) generation and PDE-catalyzed cAMP hydrolysis and increased the cellular cAMP content. Macrophage H2O2 generation was also inhibited by forskolin, an activator of adenylyl cyclase, but whereas theophylline (1 mmol/liter) and forskolin (1 mumol/liter) exhibited a synergic elevation of macrophage cAMP, there was no synergy between the two agents in the inhibition of respiratory burst. The inhibition of H2O2 generation by theophylline was reversed by the competitive inhibitor of cAMP-dependent protein kinase, (Rp)8-bromoadenosine cyclic 3':5'-monophosphorothioate (Rp-8-Br-cAMPS; 100 mumol/liter), indicating that the functional effect of theophylline was mediated through the elevation of cAMP. The inhibition of H2O2 generation by theophylline was not affected by adenosine deaminase (0.1 U/ml), indicating that the inhibition did not involve adenosine antagonism. It is concluded that theophylline exerts a direct inhibitory action upon human alveolar macrophage function through the elevation of cAMP levels as a result of PDE inhibition, and that this effect is observed at concentrations of theophylline that may be achieved in serum during therapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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