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Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2012 Apr;32(4):856-64. doi: 10.1161/ATVBAHA.111.226845.

Regulation of neutrophil function by adenosine.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, USA.


Adenosine is an endogenously released purine nucleoside that signals via 4 widely expressed G protein-coupled receptors: A(1), A(2A), A(2B), and A(3). In the setting of inflammation, the generation and release of adenosine is greatly enhanced. Neutrophils play an important role in host defense against invading pathogens and are the cellular hallmark of acute inflammation. Neutrophils both release adenosine and can respond to it via expression of all 4 adenosine receptor subtypes. At low concentrations, adenosine can act via the A(1) and A(3) adenosine receptor subtypes to promote neutrophil chemotaxis and phagocytosis. At higher concentrations, adenosine acts at the lower-affinity A(2A) and A(2B) receptors to inhibit neutrophil trafficking and effector functions such as oxidative burst, inflammatory mediator production, and granule release. Modulation of neutrophil function by adenosine is relevant in a broad array of disease models, including ischemia reperfusion injury, sepsis, and noninfectious acute lung injury. This review will summarize relevant research in order to provide a framework for understanding how adenosine directly regulates various elements of neutrophil function.

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