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Arthritis Res Ther. 2006; 8(2): R53.
Published online Mar 6, 2006. doi:  10.1186/ar1914
PMCID: PMC1526598
Suppression of inflammation by low-dose methotrexate is mediated by adenosine A2A receptor but not A3 receptor activation in thioglycollate-induced peritonitis
M Carmen Montesinos,corresponding author1,2 Avani Desai,2 and Bruce N Cronstein2
1Department of Pharmacology, Universidad de Valencia, Burjassot, Valencia, Spain
2Department of Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, New York, USA
corresponding authorCorresponding author.
M Carmen Montesinos: m.carmen.montesinos/at/uv.es; Avani Desai: desaia02/at/endeavor.med.nyu.edu; Bruce N Cronstein: cronsb01/at/med.nyu.edu
Received September 13, 2005; Revisions requested October 26, 2005; Revised February 7, 2006; Accepted February 8, 2006.
Abstract
Prior studies demonstrate that adenosine, acting at one or more of its receptors, mediates the anti-inflammatory effects of methotrexate in animal models of both acute and chronic inflammation. Both adenosine A2A and A3 receptors contribute to the anti-inflammatory effects of methotrexate treatment in the air pouch model of inflammation, and the regulation of inflammation by these two receptors differs at the cellular level. Because different factors may regulate inflammation at different sites we examined the effect of low-dose weekly methotrexate treatment (0.75 mg/kg/week) in a model of acute peritoneal inflammation in adenosine A2A receptor knockout mice and A3 receptor knockout mice and their wild-type littermates. Following intraperitoneal injection of thioglycollate there was no significant difference in the number or type of leukocytes, tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and IL-10 levels that accumulated in the thioglycollate-induced peritoneal exudates in adenosine A2A knockout mice or wild-type control mice. In contrast, there were more leukocytes, TNF-α and IL-10 in the exudates of the adenosine A3 receptor-deficient mice. Low-dose, weekly methotrexate treatment increased the adenosine concentration in the peritoneal exudates of all mice studied, and reduced the leukocyte accumulation in the wild-type mice and A3 receptor knockout mice but not in the A2A receptor knockout mice. Methotrexate reduced exudate levels of TNF-α in the wild-type mice and A3 receptor knockout mice but not the A2A receptor knockout mice. More strikingly, IL-10, a critical regulator of peritoneal inflammation, was increased in the methotrexate-treated wild-type mice and A3 knockout mice but decreased in the A2A knockout mice. Dexamethasone, an agent that suppresses inflammation by a different mechanism, was similarly effective in wild-type mice, A2A mice and A3 knockout mice. These findings provide further evidence that adenosine is a potent regulator of inflammation that mediates the anti-inflammatory effects of methotrexate. Moreover, these data provide strong evidence that the anti-inflammatory effects of methotrexate and adenosine are mediated by different receptors in different inflammatory loci, an observation that may explain why inflammatory diseases of some organs but not of other organs respond to methotrexate therapy.
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