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Papers of the Week

2020 Jul 08

Nat Rev Nephrol

Conversion of extracellular ATP into adenosine: a master switch in renal health and disease.


Dwyer KM, Kishore BK, Robson SC
Nat Rev Nephrol. 2020 Jul 08.
PMID: 32641760.


ATP and its ultimate degradation product adenosine are potent extracellular signalling molecules that elicit a variety of pathophysiological functions in the kidney through the activation of P2 and P1 purinergic receptors, respectively. Extracellular purines can modulate immune responses, balancing inflammatory processes and immunosuppression; indeed, alterations in extracellular nucleotide and adenosine signalling determine outcomes of inflammation and healing processes. The functional activities of ectonucleotidases such as CD39 and CD73, which hydrolyse pro-inflammatory ATP to generate immunosuppressive adenosine, are therefore pivotal in acute inflammation. Protracted inflammation may result in aberrant adenosinergic signalling, which serves to sustain inflammasome activation and worsen fibrotic reactions. Alterations in the expression of ectonucleotidases on various immune cells, such as regulatory T cells and macrophages, as well as components of the renal vasculature, control purinergic receptor-mediated effects on target tissues within the kidney. The role of CD39 as a rheostat that can have an impact on purinergic signalling in both acute and chronic inflammation is increasingly supported by the literature, as detailed in this Review. Better understanding of these purinergic processes and development of novel drugs targeting these pathways could lead to effective therapies for the management of acute and chronic kidney disease.