Purinergic receptors in gastrointestinal inflammation

Vasantha L. Kolachala, Rahul Bajaj, Meghana Chalasani, Shanthi V. Sitaraman


Purinergic receptors comprise a family of transmembrane receptors that are activated by extracellular nucleosides and nucleotides. The two major classes of purinergic receptors, P1 and P2, are expressed widely in the gastrointestinal tract as well as immune cells. The purinergic receptors serve a variety of functions from acting as neurotransmitters, to autocoid and paracrine signaling, to cell activation and immune response. Nucleosides and nucleotide agonist of purinergic receptors are released by many cell types in response to specific physiological signals, and their levels are increased during inflammation. In the past decade, the advent of genetic knockout mice and the development of highly potent and selective agonists and antagonists for the purinergic receptors have significantly advanced the understanding of purinergic receptor signaling in health and inflammation. In fact, agonist/antagonists of purinergic receptors are emerging as therapeutic modalities to treat intestinal inflammation. In this article, the distribution of the purinergic receptors in the gastrointestinal tract and their physiological and pathophysiological role in intestinal inflammation will be reviewed.

  • adenosine receptor
  • P2 receptor
  • inflammation
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