Effects of inhaled fluticasone propionate and oral prednisolone on lymphocyte beta 2-adrenoceptor function in asthmatic patients

Chest. 1996 Feb;109(2):343-7. doi: 10.1378/chest.109.2.343.


The aim of the study was to evaluate the facilitatory effects of inhaled corticosteroid on in vitro parameters of lymphocyte beta 2-adrenoceptor function in asthmatic patients. Serum cortisol level was also evaluated as a measure of systemic bioactivity. Ten (four female) asthmatic subjects were evaluated, mean (SEM) age was 28.6(2.0) years, and FEV1 was 79.9%(8.7) predicted. Single doses of inhaled placebo (PL), fluticasone propionate, 1,000 micrograms (F1000), fluticasone propionate, 2,000 micrograms(F2000), or oral prednisolone, 50 mg(PRED), were given at 10 PM the previous night and measurements were made 10 h later. Values for beta 2-receptor density (logBmax: fmol/10(6)cells) were significantly (p < 0.05) greater than PL with PRED but not with inhaled fluticasone (as means and 95% confidence interval [CI] for difference vs PL): PL, 0.27; F1000, 0.30; F2000, 0.32; and PRED, 0.48 (95% CI vs PL, 0.075 to 0.341). Maximal cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) responses to isoproterenol hydrochloride (isoprenaline (Emax; pmol/10(6)cells) mirrored those for Bmax: PL, 4.00; F1000, 4.68; F2000, 4.26; and PRED, 7.46 (95% CI vs PL, -0.01 to 6.91). Receptor affinity (Kd) was not significantly altered by any treatment. There was significant (p < 0.05) suppression of serum cortisol (nmol/L) with F2000 and PRED compared with PL: PL, 307.9; F1000, 323.2; F2000, 130.1 (95% CI vs PL, 69.76 to 285.8) and PRED, 51.8 (95% CI vs PL, 144.11 to 368.01). Thus, high-dose inhaled fluticasone propionate did not have any facilitatory effects on lymphocyte beta 2-adrenoceptor parameters as compared with oral prednisolone which upregulated beta 2-receptor density and increased cAMP response. In contrast, high-dose inhaled fluticasone (2,000 micrograms) significantly suppressed serum cortisol. In conclusion, there would appear to be a dissociation in systemic sensitivity between effects of inhaled corticosteroid on adrenal suppression and lymphocyte beta 2-adrenoceptor regulation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Adult
  • Androstadienes / pharmacology*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Asthma / blood
  • Asthma / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Fluticasone
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood
  • Lymphocytes / physiology*
  • Male
  • Prednisolone / therapeutic use
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, beta / drug effects*


  • Androstadienes
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, beta
  • Prednisolone
  • Fluticasone
  • Hydrocortisone