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Acta Physiol (Oxf). 2015 Jul;214(3):303-10. doi: 10.1111/apha.12508. Epub 2015 May 19.

Adenosine 2A receptors in acute kidney injury.

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Division of Nephrology and Center for Immunity, Inflammation and Regenerative Medicine, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, VA, USA.


Acute kidney injury (AKI) is an important clinical problem that may lead to death and for those who survive, the sequelae of AKI include loss of quality of life, chronic kidney disease and end-stage renal disease. The incidence of AKI continues to rise without clear successes in humans for the pharmacological prevention of AKI or treatment of established AKI. Dendritic cells and macrophages are critical early initiators of innate immunity in the kidney and orchestrate inflammation subsequent to ischaemia-reperfusion injury. These innate cells are the most abundant leucocytes present in the kidney, and they represent a heterogeneous population of cells that are capable of responding to cues from the microenvironment derived from pathogens or endogenous inflammatory mediators such as cytokines or anti-inflammatory mediators such as adenosine. Lymphocyte subsets such as natural killer T cells and Tregs also play roles in regulating ischaemic injury by promoting and suppressing inflammation respectively. Adenosine, produced in response to IR, is generally considered as a protective signalling molecule and elicits its physiological responses through four distinct adenosine receptors. However, its short half-life, lack of specificity and rapid metabolism limit the use of adenosine as a therapeutic agent. These adenosine receptors play various roles in regulating the activity of the aforementioned hematopoietic cells in elevated levels of adenosine such as during hypoxia. This review focuses on the importance of one receptor, the adenosine 2A subtype, in blocking inflammation associated with AKI.


acute renal failure; adenosine; dendritic cells; inflammation; macrophages

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