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Current Medicinal Chemistry


ISSN (Print): 0929-8673
ISSN (Online): 1875-533X

Review Article

Tackling Chronic Pain and Inflammation through the Purinergic System

Author(s): Giulia Magni, Daniele Riccio and Stefania Ceruti*

Volume 25, Issue 32, 2018

Page: [3830 - 3865] Pages: 36

DOI: 10.2174/0929867324666170710110630

Price: $65


The purinergic system is composed of purine and pyrimidine transmitters, the enzymes that modulate the interconversion of nucleotides and nucleosides, the membrane transporters that control their extracellular concentrations, and the many receptor subtypes that are responsible for their cellular responses. The components of this system are ubiquitously localized in all tissues and organs, and their involvement in several physiological conditions has been clearly demonstrated. Moreover, extracellular purine and pyrimidine concentrations rise several folds under pathological conditions like tissue damage, ischemia, and inflammation, which suggest that this signaling system might contribute both to disease outcome and, possibly, to its tentative resolution. The complexity of this system has greatly impaired the clear identification of the mediators and receptors that are actually involved in a given pathology, also due to the often opposite roles played by the various receptor subtypes. Nevertheless, this knowledge is fundamental for the possible exploitation of these molecular entities as targets for the development of new pharmacological approaches. In this review, we aim at highlighting what is currently known on the role of the purinergic system in various pain conditions and during inflammatory processes. Although some confusion may arise from conflicting results, literature data clearly show that targeting specific purinergic receptors may represent an innovative approach to various pain and inflammatory conditions, and that new purine-based drugs are now very close to reach the market with these indications.

Keywords: P1 receptors, P2X receptors, P2Y receptors, Adenosine, ATP, UTP, ectonucleotidases, membrane transporters.

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