Adenosine and lymphocyte regulation

Purinergic Signal. 2007 Mar;3(1-2):109-16. doi: 10.1007/s11302-006-9042-y. Epub 2007 Jan 16.


Adenosine is a potent extracellular messenger that is produced in high concentrations under metabolically unfavourable conditions. Tissue hypoxia, consequent to a compromised cellular energy status, is followed by the enhanced breakdown of ATP leading to the release of adenosine. Through the interaction with A(2) and A(3) membrane receptors, adenosine is devoted to the restoration of tissue homeostasis, acting as a retaliatory metabolite. Several aspects of the immune response have to be taken into consideration and even though in general it is very important to dampen inflammation, in some circumstances, such as the case of cancer, it is also necessary to increase the activity of immune cells against pathogens. Therefore, adenosine receptors that are defined as "sensors" of metabolic changes in the local tissue environment may be very important targets for modulation of immune responses and drugs devoted to regulating the adenosinergic system are promising in different clinical situations.