Combination therapy of PDE4 inhibitors and anticholinergics induces bronchoprotection in COPD. Mechanical forces that arise during bronchoconstriction may contribute to airway remodeling. Therefore, we investigated the impact of PDE4 inhibitors and anticholinergics on bronchoconstriction-induced remodeling. Because of the different mechanism of action of PDE4 inhibitors and anticholinergics, we hypothesized functional interactions of these two drug classes. Guinea pig precision-cut lung slices were preincubated with the PDE4 inhibitors CHF-6001 or roflumilast and/or the anticholinergics tiotropium or glycopyorrolate, followed by stimulation with methacholine (10 μM) or TGF-β1 (2 ng/ml) for 48 h. The inhibitory effects on airway smooth muscle remodeling, airway contraction, and TGF-β release were investigated. Methacholine-induced protein expression of smooth muscle-myosin was fully inhibited by CHF-6001 (0.3-100 nM), whereas roflumilast (1 µM) had smaller effects. Tiotropium and glycopyrrolate fully inhibited methacholine-induced airway remodeling (0.1-30 nM). The combination of CHF-6001 and tiotropium or glycopyrrolate, in concentrations partially effective by themselves, fully inhibited methacholine-induced remodeling in combination. CHF-6001 did not affect airway closure and had limited effects on TGF-β1-induced remodeling, but rather, it inhibited methacholine-induced TGF-β release. The PDE4 inhibitor CHF-6001, and to a lesser extent roflumilast, and the LAMAs tiotropium and glycopyrrolate inhibit bronchoconstriction-induced remodeling. The combination of CHF-6001 and anticholinergics was more effective than the individual compounds. This cooperativity might be explained by the distinct mechanisms of action inhibiting TGF-β release and bronchoconstriction.
Keywords: long-acting anticholinergics; phosphodiesterase-4.
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