The mechanism of action of doxofylline is unrelated to HDAC inhibition, PDE inhibition or adenosine receptor antagonism

Literature Life Science

Activity of PDEs measured with HTRF cGMP assay


Xanthines such as theophylline have been used in the treatment of lung diseases since the early 1900’s, but have a major drawback of a very narrow therapeutic window and many drug/drug interactions. This means that plasma levels have to be measured regularly and can make the use of theophylline problematic. With the increasing availability of other classes of drugs for the treatment of respiratory diseases, this has limited the use of xanthines, despite their clear clinical benefit in the treatment of patients with asthma and COPD. Doxofylline is a xanthine molecule having both bronchodilator and anti-inflammatory activity with an improved therapeutic window over conventional xanthines such as theophylline. However, the mechanistic basis of this improved therapeutic window is not understood. The present study has investigated some pharmacological activities of doxofylline in comparison with theophylline. Doxofylline does not directly inhibit any of the known HDAC enzymes, and did not inhibit any PDE enzyme sub types or act as an antagonist at any of the known adenosine receptors, except for PDE2A(1), and adenosine A(2A) and only at the highest tested concentration (10(-4) M). These results may explain the improved tolerability profile of doxofylline compared with theophylline.


Pulm Pharmacol Ther. 2012 Feb;25(1):55-61

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