AbstractThe methyl xanthines, theophylline, caffeine and 3-isobutyl-1 methyl xanthine (MIX) inhibited the pressure responses to noradrenaline, angiotensin II and potassium ions in the isolated perfused mesenteric vascular bed of the male rat. The ID50s for inhibition of responses to noradrenaline were 1.85 mug/ml (0.83 x 10(-5) M) for MIX, 18 mug/ml (1 x 10(-4)M) for theophylline and 133 mug/ml (6.8 x 10(-4) M) for caffeine. Similar ID50 concentrations were found for responses to angiotensin II and potassium. We have previously found that substances which inhibit the three pressor agents equally may be prostaglandin (PG) synthesis inhibitors or PG antagonists. Xanthine itself, cyclic AMP and dibutyrl cyclic AMP had no inhibitory effects on the preparation up to concentrations of 10-2 M. Partial inhibition of PG synthesis by indomethacin shifted the % inhibition/log concentration curve to the left, while addition of exogenous PGE2 shifted it to the right. In preparations completely inhibited by sufficient indomethacin added to the perfusate to block PG synthesis, and then restored by adding 1 or 5 ng/ml PGE2 in addition to the indomethacin, the methyl xanthines again inhibited responses suggesting that they were PG antagonists rather than inhibitors of synthesis or release. In preliminary experiments MIX also inhibited effects of PGF2alpha on rat uterus and PGE1 on guinea pig ileum. Effective concentrations of theophylline were similar to the therapeutic levels in human plasma. PG antagonists may be a major action of methyl xanthines requiring reinterpretation of many experiments which have attributed their effects to PDE inhibition. PGs may also be involved in regulating PDE action.
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