The specific changes I attempted were to a database entry following instructions in this question: Possible to turn on Airplane mode with WiFi on only?
The changes to either row would take effect immediately but are reset following a reboot. The updated rows retain their row-id but revert to the previous/default data following reboot.
the exact command I used was:
adb shell settings put global airplane_mode_radios "cell,bluetooth,nfc,wimax"
The following command would result in an exception where it is unable to find the key:
adb shell content update --uri content://settings/global --bind value:s:'cell,bluetooth,nfc,wimax' --where "name='airplane_mode_radios'"
I'm using Android 4.2.2 and the latest ADB available as of end of March.