Bronchodilator and Antiallergy Activity of Forskolin


Kreutner RW




European Journal of Pharmacology


Forskolin is a diterpene from the roots of Coleus forskohli which directly activates the adenylate cyclase and raises cyclic AMP levels in a variety of tissues. Forskolin was studied for its effects on the tone of airway smooth muscle and the immunologic release of leukotrienes and histamine. The bronchospasm induced by inhaled antigen in sensitized guinea pigs was prevented in a dose-related fashion by the intravenous (i.v.) or intratracheal administration of forskolin. Forskolin was more potent than aminophylline and less potent than salbutamol. There was no evidence that forskolin would potentiate the in vivo bronchodilator effects of either salbutamol or aminophylline. Forskolin was approximately 100 times more potent than aminophylline by the i.v. and intratracheal routes to reverse an established allergic bronchospasm. Forskolin given intratracheally also inhibited the bronchospasm to i.v. histamine, with a short duration of action. In vitro forskolin (less than 1 microM) inhibited contractions of lung parenchyma provoked by histamine, LTC4 or antigen. Forskolin (1 microM) also inhibited the immunologically stimulated release of LTD4 and histamine from sensitized guinea pig lung. These studies show that forskolin shares with other agents that elevate cyclic AMP levels the ability to relax airway smooth muscle and inhibit mediator release in vitro and elicit a bronchodilation in vivo.