Beyond the dogma: novel β2-adrenoceptor signalling in the airways

M. A. Giembycz, R. Newton

Abstract

β2-Adrenoceptor agonists evoke rapid bronchodilatation and are the mainstay of the treatment of asthma symptoms worldwide. The mechanism of action of this class of compounds is believed to involve the stimulation of adenylyl cyclase and subsequent activation of the cyclic adenosine monosphosphate (cAMP)/cAMP-dependent protein kinase cascade.

This classical model of β2-adrenoceptor-mediated signal transduction is deeply entrenched, but there is compelling evidence that agonism of β2-adrenoceptors can lead to the activation of multiple effector pathways, which now compels researchers in academia and the pharmaceutical industry alike to think beyond the traditional dogma. Therefore, the regulation by β2-adrenoceptor agonists of responses, including airways smooth muscle tone and the secretory capacity of the epithelium and pro-inflammatory/immune cells, may be highly complex, involving both cAMP-dependent and -independent mechanisms that, in many cases, may act in concert.

In this article, the current status of β2-adrenoceptor-mediated signalling in the airways is reviewed in the context of understanding mechanisms that may underlie both the beneficial and detrimental effects of these drugs in asthma symptom management.

SERIES “SIGNALLING AND TRANSCRIPTIONAL REGULATION IN INFLAMMATORY AND IMMUNE CELLS: IMPORTANCE IN LUNG BIOLOGY AND DISEASE”

Edited by K.F. Chung and I.M. Adcock

Number 5 in this Series

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