Doxofylline does not increase formoterol-induced cAMP nor MKP-1 expression in ASM cells resulting in lack of anti-inflammatory effect

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Journal Article
Pulmonary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 2017, 45 pp. 34 - 39
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© 2017 The xanthine doxofylline has been examined in clinical trials and shown to have efficacy and greater tolerability than theophylline in asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The ‘novofylline’ doxofylline has demonstrated bronchodilatory and anti-inflammatory actions in in vivo and ex vivo experimental models of respiratory disease. However, there are limited studies in vitro. We address this herein and examine whether doxofylline has anti-inflammatory impact on primary cultures of airway smooth muscle (ASM) cells. We conduct a series of investigations comparing and contrasting doxofylline with the archetypal xanthine, theophylline, and the specific phosphodiesterase (PDE) 4 inhibitor, cilomilast. We confirm that the xanthine drugs do not have action as PDE inhibitors in ASM cells. Unlike cilomilast, doxofylline (and theophylline) do not increase cAMP production in ASM cells induced by long-acting β2-agonist formoterol. Similar to theophylline, and consistent with the lack of cAMP potentiation, doxofylline does not augment formoterol-induced upregulation of the anti-inflammatory protein mitogen-activated protein kinase phosphatase 1 (MKP-1). However, when we examine the effect of doxofylline on secretion of the interleukin 8 from ASM cells stimulated by tumour necrosis factor (an in vitro surrogate measure of inflammation), there was no repression of inflammation. This is in contrast to the anti-inflammatory impact exerted by theophylline and cilomilast in confirmatory experiments. In summary, our study is the first to examine the effect of doxofylline on ASM cells in vitro and highlights some distinct differences between two key members of xanthine drug family, doxofylline and theophylline.
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