Theophylline inhibits the release of eosinophil survival cytokines--is Raf-1 the protein kinase A target?

Jan Shute, H. Tenor, M. Church, S. Holgate

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Increased numbers of activated eosinophils in bronchial tissue is a feature of asthma and may, in part, be attributed to the prolonged cytokine-dependent survival of eosinophils within the inflamed microenvironment. Low-dose oral theophylline was previously shown to reduce the number of activated eosinophils within the sub-mucosa following allergen exposure. A number of inhibitory actions of theophylline have been described which relate to eosinophil recruitment and activation, including inhibition of cell migration and release of granule basic proteins. In this study we investigated the ability of theophylline to inhibit the release of preformed GM-CSF and IL-8 from eosinophils in vitro, as these cytokines may serve an autocrine function in eosinophil survival in vivo. Eosinophils rapidly released GM-CSF and IL-8 spontaneously, and release was further enhanced in response to sIgA-coated beads. Theophylline inhibited the stimulated, but not the spontaneous, release of both cytokines. We previously reported the role of protein kinase A in inhibition of arachidonic acid mobilization and LTC4 synthesis. Therefore we speculate that cAMP-dependent activation of protein kinase A following theophylline treatment of eosinophils resulted in inhibition of Raf-1 and MAPK/MAPKK dependent activation of phospholipase A2 and consequently inhibition of degranulation and cytokine release.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-52
Number of pages6
JournalClinical & Experimental Allergy
Issue numberS3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1998


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