Toll, L., Jimenez, L., Waleh, N., Jozwiak, K., Woo, A. H., Xiao, R. P., … & Wainer, I. W. (2011). β2-adrenergic receptor agonists inhibit the proliferation of 1321N1 astrocytoma cells. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 336(2), 524-532.
Astrocytomas and glioblastomas have been particularly difficult to treat and refractory to chemotherapy. However, significant evidence has been presented that demonstrates a decrease in astrocytoma cell proliferation subsequent to an increase in cAMP levels. The 1321N1 astrocytoma cell line, as well as other astrocytomas and glioblastomas, expresses β2-adrenergic receptors (β2-ARs) that are coupled to Gs activation and consequent cAMP production. Experiments were conducted to determine whether the β2-AR agonist (R,R′)-fenoterol and other β2-AR agonists could attenuate mitogenesis and, if so, by what mechanism. Receptor binding studies were conducted to characterize β2-AR found in 1321N1 and U118 cell membranes. In addition, cells were incubated with (R,R′)-fenoterol and analogs to determine their ability to stimulate intracellular cAMP accumulation and inhibit [3H]thymidine incorporation into the cells. 1321N1 cells contain significant levels of β2-AR as determined by receptor binding. (R,R′)-fenoterol and other β2-AR agonists, as well as forskolin, stimulated cAMP accumulation in a dose-dependent manner. Accumulation of cAMP induced a decrease in [3H]thymidine incorporation. There was a correlation between concentration required to stimulate cAMP accumulation and inhibit [3H]thymidine incorporation. U118 cells have a reduced number of β2-ARs and a concomitant reduction in the ability of β2-AR agonists to inhibit cell proliferation. These studies demonstrate the efficacy of β2-AR agonists for inhibition of growth of the astrocytoma cell lines. Because a significant portion of brain tumors contain β2-ARs to a greater extent than whole brain, (R,R′)-fenoterol, or some analog, may be useful in the treatment of brain tumors after biopsy to determine β2-AR expression.