Adenosine (ADO) is a potent bronchoconstrictor in allergic patients and has been shown to increase the release of histamine from human lung tissues. Antagonists of ADO A1 and A2A receptors are not effective in attenuating these effects. Therefore, involvement of ADO A3 receptors in the bronchoconstrictor and/or inflammatory effects have to be considered. Eosinophils also play a pivotal role in allergic diseases such as asthma, thus it is natural to consider a link between the A3 receptor and eosinophils. Human peripheral blood eosinophils express the ADO A3 receptor as indicated by detection of the transcript for A3 receptors in polymerase chain reaction-amplified cDNA derived from the cells. A3 receptors on eosinophil membranes were characterized using the A3 receptor agonist radioligand 125I-labeled AB-MECA, which yielded Bmax and Kd values of 1.31 pmol/mg protein and 3.19 nmol/L, respectively. Treatment of eosinophils with the highly potent and selective A3 receptor agonist CI-IB-MECA clearly induced Ca2+ release from intracellular Ca2+ pools followed by Ca2+ influx, suggesting the presence of phospholipase C-coupled A3 receptors. In contrast, the ADO receptor agonists CPA and CGS 21680, selective for A1 and A2A receptors, respectively, at concentrations of < or = 30 mumol/ L did not elevate the intracellular Ca2+ level. These results attest to the existence of ADO A3 receptors on eosinophils and suggest that ADO stimulates these cells to release Ca2+ from intracellular stores via the activation of A3 receptors.

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