Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.
Airways & Breathing
When you inhale, what happens to your chest? It expands. What you don't see inside the chest is that the lungs expand in size as well. Inside those lungs, airways called bronchi dilate (expand) too. Now imagine that these airways underwent a spasm and thus narrowed. You'd have a tough time breathing in those cases. Well, there are thankfully many different medications that can prevent and treat such a worrying scenario. One of these medications is called albuterol. Let's learn about its pharmacology, classification, and structure.
Classification & Structure
Albuterol, also called albuterol sulfate or salbutamol sulfate, is chemically classified as a beta-2 adrenergic agonist. We'll get to why that's important in the next section. Albuterol's therapeutic class is that of a bronchodilator. In other words, it's a drug that expands the airways. Its therapeutic use is thus important in conditions such as:
As well as what's known as exercise-induced bronchospasm, or constriction of the airways as a result of exercise.
The way that albuterol works is simple to understand at its core. Imagine that albuterol is a key and the receptor it fits into is a lock. Now, you know that some keys can fit into a lock but not turn to open the lock while other keys can fit into a lock and turn it to open it. Well, the latter types of keys are called agonists in biology. In other words, once they fit into the lock, they are able to produce an outcome.
Albuterol, as you learned before, is a beta-2 adrenergic agonist. That is to say, it stimulates the beta-2 adrenergic receptors. It fits the beta-2 lock and turns it to produce an effect. The beta-2 receptors are part of the adrenergic system. This is the system that is influenced by epinephrine and norepinephrine.
Albuterol works by attaching to the beta-2 receptors on the cell membranes of the airways. This causes an enzyme called adenylate cyclase to convert the energy molecule adenosine triphosphate (ATP) into another molecule called cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) within the cell. This conversion causes the levels of calcium to drop within the cell. This relaxes the smooth muscles around the airways and consequently produces bronchodilation as a result.
To put it into a very simple metaphor, imagine that the bronchial smooth muscles are your fist tightly clenched around a straw. Albuterol would be like a sharp needle jabbing that fist. If your fist were to be jabbed with a needle as it clenched anything, you'd quickly unclench it and release whatever it was you were squeezing shut. Well, that's what albuterol does to the smooth muscles squeezing the airways shut.
Albuterol, also called albuterol sulfate or salbutamol sulfate, is beta-2 adrenergic agonist and bronchodilator used to treat conditions like asthma and bronchitis. It works by stimulating beta-2 adrenergic receptors of the airways. This causes the conversion of ATP into cAMP and a decrease of intracellular levels of calcium. This, in turn, relaxes the bronchial smooth muscles and allows for the airways to expand.
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