12 CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY
12.1 Mechanism of Action
Adenosine causes cardiac vasodilation which increases cardiac blood flow. Adenosine is thought to exert its pharmacological effects through activation of purine receptors (cell-surface A1 and A2 adenosine receptors). Although the exact mechanism by which adenosine receptor activation relaxes vascular smooth muscle is not known, there is evidence to support both inhibition of the slow inward calcium current reducing calcium uptake, and activation of adenylate cyclase through A2 receptors in smooth muscle cells. Adenosine may also lessen vascular tone by modulating sympathetic neurotransmission. The intracellular uptake of adenosine is mediated by a specific transmembrane nucleoside transport system. Once inside the cell, adenosine is rapidly phosphorylated by adenosine kinase to adenosine monophosphate, or deaminated by adenosine deaminase to inosine. These intracellular metabolites of adenosine are not vasoactive.
Myocardial uptake of thallium-201 is directly proportional to coronary blood flow. Since adenosine injection significantly increases blood flow in normal coronary arteries with little or no increase in stenotic arteries, adenosine injection causes relatively less thallium-201 uptake in vascular territories supplied by stenotic coronary arteries i.e., a greater difference is seen after adenosine injection between areas served by normal and areas served by stenotic vessels than is seen prior to adenosine injection.
Adenosine produces a direct negative chronotropic, dromotropic and inotropic effect on the heart, presumably due to A1-receptor agonism, and produces peripheral vasodilation, presumably due to A2-receptor agonism. The net effect of adenosine injection in humans is typically a mild to moderate reduction in systolic, diastolic and mean arterial blood pressure associated with a reflex increase in heart rate. Rarely, significant hypotension and tachycardia have been observed [see Warnings and Precautions (5.4)].
Intravenously administered adenosine distributes from the circulation via cellular uptake, primarily by erythrocytes and vascular endothelial cells. This process involves a specific transmembrane nucleoside carrier system that is reversible, non-concentrative, and bidirectionally symmetrical.
Intracellular adenosine is metabolized either via phosphorylation to adenosine monophosphate by adenosine kinase, or via deamination to inosine by adenosine deaminase in the cytosol. Since adenosine kinase has a lower Km and Vmax than adenosine deaminase, deamination plays a significant role only when cytosolic adenosine saturates the phosphorylation pathway. Inosine formed by deamination of adenosine can leave the cell intact or can be degraded to hypoxanthine, xanthine, and ultimately uric acid. Adenosine monophosphate formed by phosphorylation of adenosine is incorporated into the high-energy phosphate pool.
While extracellular adenosine is primarily cleared from plasma by cellular uptake with a half-life of less than
10 seconds in whole blood, excessive amounts may be deaminated by an ecto-form of adenosine deaminase.
As adenosine does not require renal function for its activation or inactivation, renal impairment would not be expected to alter its effectiveness or tolerability.
As adenosine does not require hepatic function for its activation or inactivation, hepatic impairment would not be expected to alter its effectiveness or tolerability.