Caffeine and theophylline as adenosine receptor antagonists in humans.

Biaggioni I, Paul S, Puckett A, Arzubiaga C
J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 1991 258 (2): 588-93

PMID: 1865359

Substantial in vitro and animal data suggest that methylxanthines, such as caffeine and theophylline, act as adenosine receptor antagonists. To test this hypothesis in humans, we first determined if theophylline would antagonize the effects of adenosine. Intravenous administration of adenosine, 80 micrograms/kg/min, increased heart rate 28 +/- 6 bpm, systolic blood pressure 19 +/- 5 mm Hg and minute ventilation 6.1 +/- 2.2 liters/min. All these changes were significantly attenuated during theophylline administration (17 +/- 3 bpm and 1 +/- 2 mm Hg and 1.6 +/- 0.6 liters/min, respectively, P less than .05), at a dose (10 mg/kg over 1 hr, followed by 1.8 micrograms/kg/min i.v.) that produced plasma theophylline levels of 17 +/- 2 micrograms/ml (94 microM). We then determined if chronic caffeine consumption resulted in upregulation of platelet adenosine receptors in eight normal volunteers. After 7 days of caffeine abstinence, the adenosine analog 5'-N-ethylcarboxamidoadenosine produced a dose-dependent inhibition of thrombin-induced aggregation (EC50 = 69 nM). Subjects then were given caffeine, 250 mg p.o. 3 times a day for 7 days. Actual caffeine withdrawal, that is, virtual disappearance of caffeine in plasma, was apparent 60 hr after the last dose of caffeine. Caffeine withdrawal produced a significant shift to the left of 5'-N-ethylcarboxamidoadenosine inhibition of aggregation (EC50 = 49 nM, P less than .01), implying sensitization and/or upregulation of adenosine receptors as seen after chronic exposure to an antagonist. These results suggest that methylxanthines act as adenosine receptor antagonists in humans.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH Terms (12)

Adenosine Adenosine-5'-(N-ethylcarboxamide) Adult Caffeine Heart Rate Humans Male Platelet Aggregation Purinergic Antagonists Receptors, Purinergic Substance Withdrawal Syndrome Theophylline

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