Muscarinic receptor antagonists: Effects on pulmonary function

Kalmia S. Buels, Allison D. Fryer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

96 Scopus citations


In healthy lungs, muscarinic receptors control smooth muscle tone, mucus secretion, vasodilation, and inflammation. In chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma, cholinergic mechanisms contribute to increased bronchoconstriction and mucus secretion that limit airflow. This chapter reviews neuronal and nonneuronal sources of acetylcholine in the lung and the expression and role of M 1, M 2, and M 3 muscarinic receptor subtypes in lung physiology. It also discusses the evidence for and against the role of parasympathetic nerves in asthma, and the current use and therapeutic potential of muscarinic receptor antagonists in COPD and asthma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMuscarinic Receptors
EditorsAllison D. Fryer, Neil M. Nathanson, Arthur Christopoulos
Number of pages25
StatePublished - 2012

Publication series

NameHandbook of Experimental Pharmacology
ISSN (Print)0171-2004
ISSN (Electronic)1865-0325


  • Asthma
  • Atropine
  • Bronchoconstriction
  • Bronchodilation
  • COPD
  • Hyperresponsiveness
  • Ipratropium
  • Lung
  • Parasympathetic nerves
  • Tiotropium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics
  • Biochemistry


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