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Trends Neurosci. 2009 Feb;32(2):79-87. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2008.11.003. Epub 2009 Jan 8.

Purinergic signalling in inflammation of the central nervous system.

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Department of Experimental and Diagnostic Medicine, Section of General Pathology, Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Inflammation, University of Ferrara, 44100 Ferrara, Italy.


Inflammation is the most fundamental body reaction to noxious stimuli. No vascularized tissue, organ or apparatus is free from this response. Several mediators of inflammation, originating from outside (exogenous) or inside (endogenous) the body, are known. Among the endogenous factors, extracellular nucleotides and nucleosides are attracting interest for their ubiquity and striking ability to modulate diverse immune responses. Until recently, it was doubted that the central nervous system (CNS), reportedly an 'immunoprivileged organ', could be the site of immune reactions. Nowadays, it is acknowledged that inflammation and immunity have a key role in a vast range of CNS diseases. Likewise, it is clear that purinergic signalling profoundly affects neuroinflammation. Here, we provide a brief update of the state of the art in this expanding field.

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