Pentoxifylline has been claimed to work a beneficial effect in arterial insufficiency by improving erythrocyte deformability and thus improving blood flow. A number of observations, including the drug concentrations required to work the red cell effect, suggested that this was not likely to be a complete explanation. We therefore examined the effect of pentoxifylline on several granulocyte and platelet functions. Pentoxifylline inhibited platelet aggregation in response to 4 μmol/L adenosine diphosphate; although statistically significant inhibition was seen at 1 μmol/L pentoxifylline, over 200 μmol/L was required for 50% inhibition. The adherence of unstimulated platelets to cultured endothelial cells was not strongly inhibited by pentoxifylline; however, the additional increment in adherence seen in the presence of thrombin was strongly inhibited (50% attenuative dose [AD50] = 18 μmol/L). Granulocyte aggregation in response to C5a was modestly inhibited (AD30 ~ 8 μmol/L; AD50 > 1 mmol/L), and the adherence of unstimulated polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMNs) to endothelium was uninhibited. The C5a-mediated augmentation of PMN adherence to endothelium was mildly inhibited (AD50 = 240 μmol/L). Inhibition of PMN chemotaxis to N-Formyl-methionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine (FMLP) or C5a (AD50 = 12 μmol/L) and inhibition of superoxide production in response to FMLP-cytochalasin B (AD50 = 24 μmol/L) were seen at more clinically credible concentrations. Perhaps most important, pentoxifylline blocked the ability of platelet activation factor to prime neutrophils for enhanced response to subsequent stimuli (AD50 ~ 8 μmol/L; AD50 = 10 μmol/L when production was the indicator system); in vivo, this could broaden the drug's effect to include functions that it does not inhibit potently in a primary fashion. Although pentoxifylline is known to be a phosphodiesterase inhibitor, and we found it to elevate intracellular cyclic adenosine monophosphate in stimulated PMNs, we found it to be only marginally more potent than theophylline in this regard; therefore, the failure of theophylline to inhibit PMN priming suggests that this enzyme inhibition is not a complete explanation of the pharmacologic action of pentoxifylline. We suggest that the effects of pentoxifylline on platelet and granulocyte function are likely to contribute to the drug's clinical efficacy.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||Journal of Laboratory and Clinical Medicine|
|State||Published - 1988|