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Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2009 Mar;40(3):251-9. doi: 10.1165/rcmb.2008-0168OC. Epub 2008 Aug 14.

The adenosine a2a receptor inhibits matrix-induced inflammation in a novel fashion.

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Department of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.


Endogenous mediators within the inflammatory milieu play a critical role in directing the scope, duration, and resolution of inflammation. High-molecular-weight extracellular matrix hyaluronan (HA) helps to maintain homeostasis. During inflammation, hyaluronan is broken down into fragments that induce chemokines and cytokines, thereby augmenting the inflammatory response. Tissue-derived adenosine, released during inflammation, inhibits inflammation via the anti-inflammatory A2 adenosine receptor (A2aR). We demonstrate that adenosine modulates HA-induced gene expression via the A2aR. A2aR stimulation inhibits HA fragment-induced pro-fibrotic genes TNF-alpha, keratinocyte chemoattractant (KC), macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP)-2, and MIP-1alpha while simultaneously synergizing with hyaluronan fragments to up-regulate the TH1 cytokine IL-12. Interestingly, A2aR stimulation mediates these affects via the novel cAMP-activated guanine nucleotide exchange factor EPAC. In addition, A2aR-null mice are more susceptible to bleomycin-induced lung injury, consistent with a role for endogenous adenosine in inhibiting the inflammation that may lead to fibrosis. Indeed, the bleomycin treated A2aR-null mice demonstrate increased lung inflammation, HA accumulation, and histologic damage. Overall, our data elucidate the opposing roles of tissue-derived HA fragments and adenosine in regulating noninfectious lung inflammation and support the pursuit of A2aR agonists as a means of pharmacologically inhibiting inflammation that may lead to fibrosis.

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