Airway effects of purine nucleosides and nucleotides and release with bronchial provocation in asthma

J Appl Physiol (1985). 1986 Nov;61(5):1667-76. doi: 10.1152/jappl.1986.61.5.1667.


Adenosine, AMP, and ADP all caused similar concentration-related bronchoconstriction when inhaled by patients with asthma, whereas the adenosine hydrolysis product inosine had no effect. Geometric mean provocation concentrations of adenosine AMP and ADP causing a 20% fall in forced expiratory volume in 1 s (PCf20) were 2.34, 4.27, and 2.19 mumol/ml and 40% fall in specific airway conductance (PCs40) 3.16, 5.01, and 2.0 mumol/ml. Bronchoconstriction was rapid in onset, reaching a maximum 2-5 min after a single inhalation of AMP. In 31 asthmatic subjects a positive correlation was established between airway responsiveness to histamine, as an index of non-specific responsiveness, and airway reactivity to adenosine (PCf20, r = 0.60; PCs40, r = 0.64; P less than 0.01). Following bronchial provocation with allergen in nine subjects, plasma levels of adenosine increased from a mean base line of 5.4 +/- 0.9 to 9.6 +/- 2.0 ng/ml at 15 min (P less than 0.01) in parallel with a fall in forced expiratory volume in 1 s. With methacholine provocation bronchoconstriction reached maximum 2-5 min postchallenge being followed by, but not accompanied by, significant increases in plasma levels of adenosine. These data suggest that adenosine is a specific bronchoconstrictor that may contribute to airflow obstruction in asthma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Diphosphate*
  • Adenosine Monophosphate*
  • Adenosine* / blood
  • Asthma / physiopathology*
  • Bronchi / physiopathology*
  • Bronchial Provocation Tests
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Histamine
  • Humans
  • Inosine / blood
  • Kinetics
  • Methacholine Chloride
  • Methacholine Compounds


  • Methacholine Compounds
  • Methacholine Chloride
  • Adenosine Monophosphate
  • Inosine
  • Adenosine Diphosphate
  • Histamine
  • Adenosine