Pharmacological characterization of effects of nifedipine on isolated guinea-pig and rat tracheal smooth muscle

J. B. Cheng, R. G. Townley

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Nifedipine, a relatively new Ca2+-channel blocking agent, has recently been shown to be effective in the treatment of exercise-induced asthma; however, the pharmacological mechanism by which it blocks bronchospasm is little understood. We have investigated and characterized its effects on the reactivity of isolated guinea-pig and rat tracheal smooth muscle. Although it (10-8-10-7 M) blocked the contraction of the rat tracheal muscle to KCl and CaCl2, nifedipine (10-7-10-6 M) did not significantly inhibit histamine, methacholine or serotonin-induced muscle contractions in guinea-pigs and the methacholine contraction in rats. Nifedipine produced a potent relaxation on contracted tracheal muscle. The concentration required to produce 50% relaxation of 10-5 M histamine-precontracted guinea-pig tracheal muscle was 8.31 ± 3.12 X 10-9 M, and the extent of the nifedipine-induced relaxation could be modified by the baseline and active contracted tension. Nifedipine was more potent in producing the relaxation in guinea-pig tracheal muscle than isoproterenol, theophylline or verapamil. However, the time required for 50% relaxation by 3 X 10-5 M isoproterenol was significantly less than the time for the nifedipine (3 X 10-5 M) or verapamil (10-4 M) effect. In addition, the Hill number of the nifedipine-induced relaxation was different from the value of the isoproterenol or verapamil effect. Our results indicate that nifedipine exerts a potent dilatory effect directly on airway muscle, and suggest that such effect could be one of its pharmacological actions on relieving bronchospasm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)228-244
Number of pages17
JournalArchives Internationales de Pharmacodynamie et de Therapie
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1983

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology


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