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Purinergic Signal. 2005 Sep;1(3):205-9. doi: 10.1007/s11302-005-6312-z. Epub 2005 Jul 29.

Purinergic mechanism in the immune system: A signal of danger for dendritic cells.

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Department of Experimental and Diagnostic Medicine, Section of General Pathology, and Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Inflammation (ICSI), University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy,


There is increasing appreciation that injured or stressed cells release molecules endowed with the ability to modulate dendritic cell maturation. The role of these molecules is thought to be that of alerting the body of an impending danger, and initiate and shape the subsequent immune response. Nucleotides are perfectly suited for this task as they are easily released upon damage of the cell membrane, rapidly diffuse in the extracellular environment and ligate specific plasma membrane receptors expressed by dendritic cells and other mononuclear phagocytes. A better knowledge of the modulation of dendritic cell responses by extracellular nucleotides may provide novel routes to enhance the immune response and increase the efficacy of vaccination.

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