Protease-activated receptors as drug targets in inflammation and pain

Pharmacol Ther. 2009 Sep;123(3):292-309. doi: 10.1016/j.pharmthera.2009.05.004. Epub 2009 May 28.


Proteases have been shown to signal to cells through the activation of a novel class of receptors coupled to G proteins: the protease-activated receptors (PARs). Those receptors are expressed in a wide range of cells, which ultimately are all involved in mechanisms of inflammation and pain. Numerous studies have considered the role of PARs in cells, organ systems or in vivo, highlighting the fact that PAR activation results in signs of inflammation. A growing body of evidences discussed here suggests that these receptors, and the proteases that activate them, interfere with inflammation and pain processes. Whether a role for PARs has been clearly defined in inflammatory and pain pathologies is discussed in this review. Further, the pros and cons for considering PARs as targets for the development of therapeutic options for the treatment of inflammation and pain are discussed.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Drug Design
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / drug therapy*
  • Inflammation / physiopathology
  • Pain / drug therapy*
  • Pain / physiopathology
  • Receptors, Proteinase-Activated / drug effects*
  • Receptors, Proteinase-Activated / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction


  • Analgesics
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Receptors, Proteinase-Activated