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J Cell Sci. 1999 Feb;112 ( Pt 4):491-502.

Expression of A2B adenosine receptors in human lymphocytes: their role in T cell activation.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Faculty of Chemistry, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.


Extracellular adenosine has a key role in the development and function of the cells of the immune system. Many of the adenosine actions seem to be mediated by specific surface receptors positively coupled to adenylate cyclase: A2A and A2B. Despite the fact that A2A receptors (A2ARs) can be easily studied due to the availability of the specific agonist CGS21680, a pharmacological and physiological characterization of adenosine A2B receptors (A2BRs) in lymphocytes has not been possible due to the lack of suitable reagents. Here we report the generation and characterization of a polyclonal antipeptide antibody raised against the third extracellular loop of the A2BR human clone which is useful for immunocytochemical studies. This antibody has permitted the detection of A2BR+ cells in lymphocyte samples isolated from human peripheral blood. The pharmacology of cAMP-producing compounds is consistent with the presence of functional A2BRs but not of A2A receptors in these human cells. The percentage of A2BR-expressing cells was similar in the CD4(+) or CD8(+) T cell subpopulations. Interestingly activation signals delivered by either phytohemagglutinin or anti-T cell receptor/CD3 complex antibodies led to a significant increase in both the percentage of cells expressing the receptor and the intensity of the labeling. These receptors are functional since interleukin-2 production in these cells is reduced by NECA but not by R-PIA or CGS21680. These results show that A2BR expression is regulated in T cell activation and suggest that the role of adenosine in lymphocyte deactivation is mediated by A2BRs.

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