Differential effect of formoterol on adenosine monophosphate and histamine reactivity in asthma

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1999 Jun;159(6):1786-90. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm.159.6.9809090.


Short-acting beta2-agonists provide greater protection against bronchoconstriction induced by adenosine 5'-monophosphate (AMP) than by direct-acting bronchoconstrictors such as histamine and methacholine. AMP is thought to cause bronchoconstriction via release of mediators from mast cells, which suggests that these drugs stabilize mast cells in vivo. This in vivo property has not yet been demonstrated for long-acting beta2-agonists. We undertook a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, cross-over study to investigate the effects of a single dose of formoterol inhaled via Turbuhaler (12 micrograms) and of albuterol inhaled via Turbuhaler (200 micrograms) on airway responsiveness to AMP and histamine in 16 subjects with mild atopic asthma. Albuterol reduced airway responsiveness to AMP and histamine by 4.1 +/- 0.5 and 3.5 +/- 0.4 doubling doses, respectively. In contrast, formoterol caused a greater protective effect against AMP than against histamine challenge, decreasing airway responsiveness by 6.0 +/- 0.8 and 4.2 +/- 0.4 doubling doses, respectively (p < 0.05). Thus, the long-acting beta2-agonist formoterol appears to have a mast cell-stabilizing effect in vivo in mild asthma.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Diphosphate*
  • Adrenergic beta-Agonists / pharmacology*
  • Adult
  • Albuterol / therapeutic use
  • Asthma / drug therapy*
  • Asthma / metabolism
  • Asthma / physiopathology*
  • Bronchi / physiopathology
  • Bronchial Provocation Tests
  • Bronchodilator Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Ethanolamines / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Formoterol Fumarate
  • Histamine*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nebulizers and Vaporizers


  • Adrenergic beta-Agonists
  • Bronchodilator Agents
  • Ethanolamines
  • Adenosine Diphosphate
  • Histamine
  • Albuterol
  • Formoterol Fumarate