G protein-coupled receptors in rheumatology

Nat Rev Rheumatol. 2014 Jul;10(7):429-36. doi: 10.1038/nrrheum.2014.62. Epub 2014 May 6.


G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are transmembrane receptor proteins that allow the transfer of signals across the cell membrane. In addition to their physiological role, GPCRs are involved in many pathophysiological processes including pathways relevant in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), osteoarthritis (OA) and psoriatic arthritis. Two-thirds of all currently available drugs target GPCRs directly or indirectly. However, the detailed mechanism of GPCR signalling is still unclear. Selective modification of GPCR-dependent signalling cascades to inhibit disease progression in rheumatic diseases is now being investigated. One approach is to use antibodies against ligands activating GPCRs. However, several GPCRs are known to be activated by only one ligand. In this case, targeting the receptor itself is a promising approach. So far, more information is available on GPCR action in RA as compared with OA, and even less information is available for other rheumatic diseases. Additional research on the role of GPCRs involved in the pathophysiology of rheumatic diseases is required to develop specific therapeutic approaches.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • G-Protein-Coupled Receptor Kinases / physiology
  • Guanine Nucleotides / physiology
  • Humans
  • Receptors, Chemokine / physiology
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / chemistry
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / physiology*
  • Receptors, Lysosphingolipid / physiology
  • Receptors, Proteinase-Activated / physiology
  • Receptors, Purinergic P1 / physiology
  • Rheumatic Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology


  • Guanine Nucleotides
  • Receptors, Chemokine
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • Receptors, Lysosphingolipid
  • Receptors, Proteinase-Activated
  • Receptors, Purinergic P1
  • G-Protein-Coupled Receptor Kinases