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Mechanism of Action of Long-Acting Bronchodilators

DeBellis, Ronald J. PharmD, FCCP

Clinical Pulmonary Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/01.cpm.0000170112.09340.1a
Supplement Article

It has been suggested that the pathophysiology of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is characterized by a centrally mediated increase in cholinergic tone. β-Agonists act by binding to adrenergic receptors, which stimulate bronchodilation through the mediation of the cyclic AMP (cAMP) second messenger system. Theophylline is postulated to stimulate bronchodilation by inhibiting phosphodiesterase and adenosine. Phosphodiesterase inhibition prolongs the actions of cAMP and results in bronchodilation. Inhaled long-acting anticholinergics work by antagonizing the actions of acetylcholine, producing relaxation of airway smooth muscle.

In Brief

Describes mechanism of action of agents used to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Author Information

From the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences-Worcester, Worcester, MA.

Correspondence: Ronald J. DeBellis, PharmD, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences-Worcester, 19 Foster Street, Worcester, MA 01608.

© 2005 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.