Functional desensitization due to stimulation of cyclic AMP-phosphodiesterase in human mononuclear leukocytes

S. C. Chan, S. R. Grewe, S. R. Stevens, J. M. Hanifin

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46 Scopus citations


We have previously demonstrated heterologous desensitization of human mononuclear leukocytes (MNL) by incubation of low (e.g., 10-6 M) concentrations of histamine, isoproterenol and prostaglandin E1. Subsequent exposure of the cells to stimulating (e.g., 10-3 to 10-5 M) concentrations of any one of the three agonists shows reduced cAMP responses. Possible mechanisms for the subnormal responsiveness include rapid degradation of cAMP. In this report we demonstrated time-dependent elevation of cAMP-phosphodiesterase (PDE) activity following agonist desensitization. The increased enzyme activity was accompanied by a mirror-image decrease in cAMP responsiveness. The effect was rapid and prolonged, with recovery time proportional to desensitization time. Cycloheximide failed to inhibit the increase of cAMP-PDE activity caused by short-term histamine exposure, but partially diminished the elevation as the result of chronic histamine desensitization. We observed three different kinetic forms of cAMP-PDE in MNL, designated as I, II and III, each with distinctive Km and Vmax. Histamine desensitization increased the activity of form II and drastically reduced that of form I. Also we observed a possible conversion of lymphocyte cAMP-PDE from form I to the form II more characteristic of monocytes. Agonist-induced increases in cAMP-PDE activity and changes in enzyme kinetic characteristics represent a potentially important mechanism of functional desensitization. This may have significant effects on biological regulation of cyclic nucleotides.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)211-224
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Cyclic Nucleotide Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1982
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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