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01.12.2016 | Research | Ausgabe 1/2016 Open Access

Respiratory Research 1/2016

Pharmacological characterisation of the interaction between glycopyrronium bromide and indacaterol fumarate in human isolated bronchi, small airways and bronchial epithelial cells

Respiratory Research > Ausgabe 1/2016
Mario Cazzola, Luigino Calzetta, Ermanno Puxeddu, Josuel Ora, Francesco Facciolo, Paola Rogliani, Maria Gabriella Matera



Nowadays, there is a considerable gap in knowledge concerning the mechanism(s) by which long-acting β2-agonists (LABAs) and long-acting muscarinic antagonists (LAMAs) interact to induce bronchodilation. This study aimed to characterise the pharmacological interaction between glycopyrronium bromide and indacaterol fumarate and to identify the mechanism(s) leading to the bronchorelaxant effect of this interaction.


The effects of glycopyrronium plus indacaterol on the contractile tone of medium and small human isolated bronchi were evaluated, and acetylcholine and cAMP concentrations were quantified. The interaction was assessed by Bliss Independence approach.


Glycopyrronium plus indacaterol synergistically inhibited the bronchial tone (medium bronchi, +32.51 % ± 7.86 %; small bronchi, +28.46 % ± 5.35 %; P < 0.05 vs. additive effect). The maximal effect was reached 140 min post-administration. A significant (P < 0.05) synergistic effect was observed during 9 h post-administration on the cholinergic tone, but not on the histaminergic contractility. Co-administration of glycopyrronium and indacaterol reduced the release of acetylcholine from the epithelium but not from bronchi, and enhanced cAMP levels in bronchi and epithelial cells (P < 0.05 vs. control), an effect that was inhibited by the selective KCa++ channel blocker iberiotoxin. The role of cAMP-dependent pathway was confirmed by the synergistic effect elicited by the adenylate cyclase activator forskolin on glycopyrronium (P < 0.05 vs. additive effect), but not on indacaterol (P > 0.05 vs. additive effect), with regard of the bronchial relaxant response and cAMP increase.


Glycopyrronium/indacaterol co-administration leads to a synergistic improvement of bronchodilation by increasing cAMP concentrations in both airway smooth muscle and bronchial epithelium, and by decreasing acetylcholine release from the epithelium.
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