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Studies on human neutrophil biological functions by means of formyl-peptide receptor agonists and antagonists.

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Dipartimento di Scienze Farmaceutiche, via Fossato di Mortara 19, Università di Ferrara, Italy.


Phagocytes are activated by several extracellular signals, including formyl-peptides derived from bacterial proteins or disrupted cells. The most intensely studied member of the formylpeptide family is the synthetic tripeptide N-formyl-L-methionyl-L-leucyl-L-phenylalanine (fMLP), whose specific receptors have been identified on neutrophil plasma membrane and subsequently cloned. The fMLP-receptor interaction activates multiple transduction pathways responsible for various neutrophil functions such as adhesion, chemotaxis, exocytosis of secretory granules and superoxide anion production, which represent the physiological response to bacterial infection and tissue damage. An unresolved question is whether signaling requirements are identical or specific for each physiological function. The development of fMLP receptor agonists and antagonists has led to an improvement of our knowledge about the above issue. Of particular interest is the possibility that receptorial antagonists, able to transiently inhibit neutrophil responses to formylpeptides, could be therapeutic agents in the treatment of inflammation-related diseases. Aim of this review is, i) to summarise the current understanding of the series of events that begins at the level of formylpeptide-receptor interaction and is responsible for the activation of transduction pathways, which finally determine neutrophil response; ii) to define the state of art regarding the synthesis as well as the biological actions of fMLP receptor agonists and antagonists.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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