Although theophylline has been suggested to have an anti-inflammatory effect, there have been few reports to show the in vivo effect and the mechanism of anti-inflammatory activity of theophylline experimentally. To reveal the anti-inflammatory activity of theophylline, we studied the effect of theophylline and its metabolites on carrageenan-induced edema in rat foot pad. Subcutaneous injection of theophylline (5-100 mg/kg) inhibited carrageenan-induced edema dose-dependently. Theophylline metabolites, that is, 1-methylxanthine, 3-methylxanthine, 1-methyluric acid, and 1,3-dimethyluric acid (equimolar dose to 50 mg/kg of theophylline), did not inhibit the edema significantly. The inhibitory effect of theophylline on carrageenan-induced edema disappeared by pretreatment with aminoglutethimide, an inhibitor of glucocorticoid synthesis and with mefepristone, an antagonist of the glucocorticoid receptor. These results suggest that theophylline itself has anti-inflammatory activity and the glucocorticoid-glucocorticoid receptor system is involved in the anti-inflammatory activity of theophylline.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Medicine