Pharmacology and signaling of prostaglandin receptors: multiple roles in inflammation and immune modulation

Pharmacol Ther. 2004 Aug;103(2):147-66. doi: 10.1016/j.pharmthera.2004.06.003.


Prostaglandins are lipid-derived autacoids that modulate many physiological systems including the CNS, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, genitourinary, endocrine, respiratory, and immune systems. In addition, prostaglandins have been implicated in a broad array of diseases including cancer, inflammation, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension. Prostaglandins exert their effects by activating rhodopsin-like seven transmembrane spanning G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). The prostanoid receptor subfamily is comprised of eight members (DP, EP1-4, FP, IP, and TP), and recently, a ninth prostaglandin receptor was identified-the chemoattractant receptor homologous molecule expressed on Th2 cells (CRTH2). The precise roles prostaglandin receptors play in physiologic and pathologic settings are determined by multiple factors including cellular context, receptor expression profile, ligand affinity, and differential coupling to signal transduction pathways. This complexity is highlighted by the diverse and often opposing effects of prostaglandins within the immune system. In certain settings, prostaglandins function as pro-inflammatory mediators, but in others, they appear to have anti-inflammatory properties. In this review, we will discuss the pharmacology and signaling of the nine known prostaglandin GPCRs and highlight the specific roles that these receptors play in inflammation and immune modulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Inflammation / metabolism*
  • Phylogeny
  • Prostaglandins / physiology*
  • Receptors, Epoprostenol / genetics
  • Receptors, Epoprostenol / metabolism
  • Receptors, Immunologic / genetics
  • Receptors, Immunologic / metabolism
  • Receptors, Prostaglandin / genetics
  • Receptors, Prostaglandin / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Prostaglandin E / genetics
  • Receptors, Prostaglandin E / metabolism
  • Receptors, Thromboxane A2, Prostaglandin H2 / genetics
  • Receptors, Thromboxane A2, Prostaglandin H2 / metabolism


  • Prostaglandins
  • Receptors, Epoprostenol
  • Receptors, Immunologic
  • Receptors, Prostaglandin
  • Receptors, Prostaglandin E
  • Receptors, Thromboxane A2, Prostaglandin H2
  • prostaglandin F2alpha receptor
  • prostaglandin D2 receptor