Can the anti-inflammatory activities of β2-agonists be harnessed in the clinical setting?
Annette J Theron,1,2 Helen C Steel,1 Gregory R Tintinger,1 Charles Feldman,3 Ronald Anderson1
1Medical Research Council Unit for Inflammation and Immunity, Department of Immunology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, 2Tshwane Academic Division of the National Health Laboratory Service, Pretoria, 3Division of Pulmonology, Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand and Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital, Johannesburg, South Africa
Abstract: Beta2-adrenoreceptor agonists (β2-agonists) are primarily bronchodilators, targeting airway smooth muscle and providing critical symptomatic relief in conditions such as bronchial asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. These agents also possess broad-spectrum, secondary, anti-inflammatory properties. These are mediated largely, though not exclusively, via interactions with adenylyl cyclase-coupled β2-adrenoreceptors on a range of immune and inflammatory cells involved in the immunopathogenesis of acute and chronic inflammatory disorders of the airways. The clinical relevance of the anti-inflammatory actions of β2-agonists, although often effective in the experimental setting, remains contentious. The primary objectives of the current review are: firstly, to assess the mechanisms, both molecular and cell-associated, that may limit the anti-inflammatory efficacy of β2-agonists; secondly, to evaluate pharmacological strategies, several of which are recent and innovative, that may overcome these limitations. These are preceded by a consideration of the various types of β2-agonists, their clinical applications, and spectrum of anti-inflammatory activities, particularly those involving adenosine 3',5'-cyclic adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase-mediated clearance of cytosolic calcium, and altered gene expression in immune and inflammatory cells.
Keywords: adenylyl cyclase, corticosteroids, cyclic AMP, muscarinic receptor antagonists, neutrophils, phosphodiesterase inhibitors
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