Archives of Toxicology

, Volume 65, Issue 7, pp 575–579 | Cite as

Relationship between in vitro relaxation of the costo-uterine smooth muscle and mesovarial leiomyoma formation in vivo by Β-receptor agonists

  • Walter E. Colbert
  • Billie F. Wilson
  • Patricia D. Williams
  • Gail D. Williams
Original Investigations


The three Β-agonists, salbutamol, ritodrine, and terbutaline have been shown to possess differing potentials to induce leiomyomas in rat costo-uterine muscle following chronic exposure (salbutamol > terbutaline > ritodrine). It has been suggested that the potential to induce leiomyomas is related to the relaxant properties of these agonists in the costo-uterine muscle. In order to test this hypothesis, the potencies of salbutamol, terbutaline, and ritodrine were compared to isoproterenol and norepinephrine in vitro in the rat costo-uterine smooth muscle, a Β2-adrenergic receptor rich tissue. All compounds produced relaxation of potassium chloride (KCl) contracted costo-uterine smooth muscle. Significant differences in potency were observed, with isoproterenol being the most potent, followed in rank order by salbutamol, terbutaline and ritodrine. The relative potency of the non-selective Β-blocker propranolol in inhibiting the agonist mediated relaxant activity was similar for all agonists examined, indicative of interactions at the same receptor site (Tallarida and Jacob 1979). When tested for Β-agonist activity in the guinea pig atria, salbutamol and ritodrine were less potent in these tissues compared to the costo-uterine muscle.

In summary, the in vitro pharmacological potency of salbutamol, terbutaline and ritodrine correlated with the potential to induce leiomyoma formation in rat costouterine muscle following chronic exposure to the respective Β-agonists. These results indicate that the isolated rat costo-uterine muscle is a sensitive model for comparing the potency of Β-agonists, and may assist in establishing the risk of costo-uterine leiomyoma formation in chronic rat studies relative to agents such as salbutamol.

Key words

Ritodrine Salbutamol Terbutaline Costouterine Leiomyoma 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Walter E. Colbert
    • 1
  • Billie F. Wilson
    • 1
  • Patricia D. Williams
    • 1
  • Gail D. Williams
    • 1
  1. 1.Toxicology Research Laboratories, Lilly Research LaboratoriesEli Lilly and CompanyGreenfieldUSA

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