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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Theophylline induces neutrophil apoptosis through adenosine A2A receptor antagonism.

This study was designed to determine whether theophylline would augment granulocyte apoptosis via a mechanism of adenosine A2A receptor antagonism. A selective adenosine A2 receptor agonist (CGS-21680, 1 microM) exhibited the most efficient potency for decreasing neutrophil apoptosis for 16 h from 63+/-5 to 19+/-4% (P < 0.001); it exerted poor and adverse effects on eosinophil survival. A selective protein kinase A inhibitor KT-5720 (10 microM) reversed the capacity of dibutyryl cAMP but not CGS-21680 to induce an inhibitory effect on neutrophil apoptosis, suggesting that occupancy of adenosine A2 receptors inhibit neutrophil apoptosis by a cAMP-independent mechanism. Theophylline derivatives show the following pattern of potency for inducing neutrophil apoptosis competing with CGS-21680: 8-phenyltheophylline = 8-p-sulfophenyltheophylline > theophylline >> enprofylline. This pattern is consistent with the affinity established for A2A receptors. Theophylline demonstrated an additive effect to that of anti-Fas antibody (CH11, 1 microg/mL) in inducing neutrophil apoptosis, but not to that of adenosine deaminase or KF-17837 (a selective A2 receptor antagonist; 1 microM), suggesting conflicting effects on the receptor antagonism. These findings suggest that theophylline has an immunomodulatory action on neutrophil apoptosis via a mechanism of A2A antagonism.[1]


  1. Theophylline induces neutrophil apoptosis through adenosine A2A receptor antagonism. Yasui, K., Agematsu, K., Shinozaki, K., Hokibara, S., Nagumo, H., Nakazawa, T., Komiyama, A. J. Leukoc. Biol. (2000) [Pubmed]
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