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Pharmacol Ther. 2013 Jun;138(3):485-502. doi: 10.1016/j.pharmthera.2013.03.006. Epub 2013 Mar 21.

E-type prostanoid receptor 4 (EP4) in disease and therapy.

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Institute of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology, Medical University of Graz, Austria.


The large variety of biological functions governed by prostaglandin (PG) E2 is mediated by signaling through four distinct E-type prostanoid (EP) receptors. The availability of mouse strains with genetic ablation of each EP receptor subtype and the development of selective EP agonists and antagonists have tremendously advanced our understanding of PGE2 as a physiologically and clinically relevant mediator. Moreover, studies using disease models revealed numerous conditions in which distinct EP receptors might be exploited therapeutically. In this context, the EP4 receptor is currently emerging as most versatile and promising among PGE2 receptors. Anti-inflammatory, anti-thrombotic and vasoprotective effects have been proposed for the EP4 receptor, along with its recently described unfavorable tumor-promoting and pro-angiogenic roles. A possible explanation for the diverse biological functions of EP4 might be the multiple signaling pathways switched on upon EP4 activation. The present review attempts to summarize the EP4 receptor-triggered signaling modules and the possible therapeutic applications of EP4-selective agonists and antagonists.

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