Anti-inflammatory effects of purine nucleosides, adenosine and inosine, in a mouse model of pleurisy: evidence for the role of adenosine A2 receptors

Purinergic Signal. 2012 Dec;8(4):693-704. doi: 10.1007/s11302-012-9299-2. Epub 2012 Mar 29.


Adenosine and its metabolite, inosine, have been described as molecules that participate in regulation of inflammatory response. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of adenosine and inosine in a mouse model of carrageenan-induced pleurisy as well as the participation of adenosine receptors in this response. Injection of carrageenan into the pleural cavity induced an acute inflammatory response characterized by leukocyte migration, pleural exudation, and increased release of interleukin-1β and tumor necrosis factor-α in pleural exudates. The treatment with adenosine (0.3-100 mg/kg, i.p.) and inosine (0.1-300 mg/kg, i.p.) 30 min before carrageenan injection reduced significantly all these parameters analyzed. Our results also demonstrated that A(2A) and A(2B) receptors seem to mediate the adenosine and inosine effects observed, since pretreatment with selective antagonists of adenosine A(2A) (ZM241385) and A(2B) (alloxazine) receptors, reverted the inhibitory effects of adenosine and inosine in pleural inflammation. The involvement of A(2) receptors was reinforced with adenosine receptor agonist CGS21680 treatment, since its anti-inflammatory effects were reversed completely and partially with ZM241385 and alloxazine injection, respectively. Moreover, the combined treatment with subeffective dose of adenosine (0.3 mg/kg) and inosine (1.0 mg/kg) induced a synergistic anti-inflammatory effect. Thus, based on these findings, we propose that inosine contributes with adenosine to exert anti-inflammatory effects in pleural inflammation, reinforcing the notion that endogenous nucleosides play an important role in controlling inflammatory diseases. This effect is likely mediated by the activation of adenosine A(2) subtype receptors and inhibition of production or release of pro-inflammatory cytokines.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology*
  • Carrageenan
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Inosine / pharmacology*
  • Leukocytes / drug effects
  • Mice
  • Pleurisy / chemically induced
  • Pleurisy / drug therapy*
  • Purine Nucleosides / pharmacology*
  • Receptors, Adenosine A2 / metabolism*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Cytokines
  • Purine Nucleosides
  • Receptors, Adenosine A2
  • Inosine
  • Carrageenan
  • Adenosine