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1.  Adenosine A2A receptor antagonists: blockade of adenosinergic effects and T regulatory cells 
British Journal of Pharmacology  2008;153(Suppl 1):S457-S464.
The intensity and duration of host responses are determined by protective mechanisms that control tissue injury by dampening down inflammation. Adenosine generation and consequent effects, mediated via A2A adenosine receptors (A2AR) on effector cells, play a critical role in the pathophysiological modulation of these responses in vivo. Adenosine is both released by hypoxic cells/tissues and is also generated from extracellular nucleotides by ecto-enzymes e.g. CD39 (ENTPD1) and CD73 that are expressed by the vasculature and immune cells, in particular by T regulatory cell. In general, these adenosinergic mechanisms minimize the extent of collateral damage to host tissues during the course of inflammatory reactions. However, induction of suppressive pathways might also cause escape of pathogens and permit dissemination. In addition, adenosinergic responses may inhibit immune responses while enhancing vascular angiogenic responses to malignant cells that promote tumor growth. Novel drugs that block A2AR-adenosinergic effects and/or adenosine generation have the potential to boost pathogen destruction and to selectively destroy malignant tissues. In the latter instance, future treatment modalities might include novel ‘anti-adenosinergic' approaches that augment immune clearance of malignant cells and block permissive angiogenesis. This review addresses several possible pharmacological modalities to block adenosinergic pathways and speculates on their future application together with impacts on human disease.
PMCID: PMC2268051  PMID: 18311159
adenosine receptor; T regulatory cells; immunity; cancer; inflammation; lymphocytes; T-cell receptor; infectious diseases; ectonucleotidases
2.  Hostile, Hypoxia-A2-Adenosinergic Tumor Biology as the Next Barrier to the Tumor Immunologists 
Cancer immunology research  2014;2(7):598-605.
The hypoxia-driven and A2A or A2B adenosine receptors (A2AR/A2BR)-mediated (“Hypoxia-A2-Adenosinergic”) and T cell autonomous immunosuppression was first recognized as critical and non-redundant in protection of normal tissues from inflammatory damage and autoimmunity. However, this immunosuppressive mechanism is high-jacked by bacteria and tumors to misguidedly protect pathogens and cancerous tissues. The inhibitors of Hypoxia-A2-Adenosinergic pathway represent the conceptually novel type of immunological co-adjuvants to be combined with cancer vaccines, adoptive cell transfer and/or blockade of immunological negative regulators in order to further prolong survival and minimize side effects. In support of this approach are preclinical studies and findings that some human cancers are resistant to chemotherapies and immunotherapies due to the tumor-generated extracellular adenosine and intracellular cAMP-elevating A2AR and A2BR on anti-tumor T and NK cells. Among co-adjuvants are i) antagonists of A2AR/A2BR; ii) extracellular adenosine-degrading drugs; iii) inhibitors of adenosine generation by CD39/CD73 ecto-enzymes and iv) inhibitors of the hypoxia-HIF-1 alpha signaling. It is emphasized that even after the multi-combinatorial blockade of immunological negative regulators the anti-tumor T and NK cells would be still vulnerable to inhibition by hypoxia and A2AR and A2BR. The advantage of combining these co-adjuvants with the blockade of the CTLA4-A and/or PD-1 is in expectations of additive or even synergistic effects of targeting both immunological and physiological tumor-protecting mechanisms. Yet to be tested is the potential capacity of co-adjuvants to minimize the side effects of blockade of CTLA-4 and/or PD1 by decreasing the dose of blocking antibodies or by eliminating the need in dual blockade.
PMCID: PMC4331061  PMID: 24990240
3.  The role of adenosinergic pathway in human autoimmune diseases 
Immunologic Research  2016;64(5):1133-1141.
Autoimmune diseases are characterized by the abnormal immune response against self-tissue, which are caused by the failure of nature immune homeostasis. Nature immune homeostasis represents the normal state of appropriate immune response to nonself-antigen and unresponsiveness to self-antigens. In normal situation, immune homeostasis is regulated by immunosuppressive signal and immunostimulating signal together. Accumulating data have demonstrated that the adenosinergic pathway played key roles in immune suppression and shield body from an excessive inflammatory response. The deficiency of adenosinergic pathway results in the imbalance between the pro- and anti-inflammatory activities. Thus, researchers pay much attention to the role of adenosinergic pathway in autoimmune diseases development. To date, accumulating data have suggested an important role of adenosinergic pathway-related molecules (i.e., CD39, CD73, ADA, adenosine receptors, etc.) in many types of human autoimmune diseases. More importantly, these findings have presented potential value of adenosinergic pathway analysis to be used for autoimmune diseases diagnosis, monitoring and treatment. In this review, we will provide a comprehensive description of the role of adenosinergic pathway in human autoimmune diseases.
PMCID: PMC5126201  PMID: 27665459
Adenosinergic pathway; Adenosine receptor; Immunosuppression; Autoimmune diseases
4.  Targeting the hypoxia-adenosinergic signaling pathway to improve the adoptive immunotherapy of cancer 
The recent approval by the FDA of cancer vaccines and drugs that blockade immunological negative regulators has further enhanced interest in promising approaches of the immunotherapy of cancer. However, the disappointingly short life extension has also underscored the need to better understand the mechanisms that prevent tumor rejection and survival even after the blockade of immunological negative regulators. Here, we describe the implications of the “metabolism-based” immunosuppressive mechanism, where the local tissue hypoxia-driven accumulation of extracellular adenosine triggers suppression via A2 adenosine receptors on the surface of activated immune cells. This molecular pathway is of critical importance in mechanisms of immunosuppression in inflamed and cancerous tissue microenvironments. The protection of tumors by tumor-generated extracellular adenosine and A2 adenosine receptors could be the misguided application of the normal tissue-protecting mechanism that limits excessive collateral damage to vital organs during the anti-pathogen immune response. The overview of the current state of the art regarding the immunosuppressive effects of extracellular adenosine is followed by an historical perspective of studies focused on the elucidation of the physiological negative regulators that protect tissues of vital organs from excessive collateral damage, but, as a trade-off, may also weaken the anti-pathogen effector functions and negate the attempts of anti-tumor immune cells to destroy cancerous cells.
PMCID: PMC3576025  PMID: 23334369
adenosine; A2A adenosine receptor; cyclic AMP; hypoxia; inflammation; tumor; cancer immunotherapy; adoptive immunotherapy; tumor microenvironment; immunosuppression; T lymphocytes; regulatory T cells; cytokines; cytotoxicity
5.  Immunological mechanisms of the antitumor effects of supplemental oxygenation 
Science translational medicine  2015;7(277):277ra30.
Antitumor T cells either avoid or are inhibited in hypoxic and extracellular adenosine-rich tumor microenvironments (TMEs) by A2A adenosine receptors. This may limit further advances in cancer immunotherapy. There is a need for readily available and safe treatments that weaken the hypoxia–A2-adenosinergic immunosuppression in the TME. Recently, we reported that respiratory hyperoxia decreases intratumoral hypoxia and concentrations of extracellular adenosine. We show that it also reverses the hypoxia-adenosinergic immunosuppression in the TME. This, in turn, stimulates (i) enhanced intratumoral infiltration and reduced inhibition of endogenously developed or adoptively transfered tumor-reactive CD8 T cells, (ii) increased proinflammatory cytokines and decreased immunosuppressive molecules, such as transforming growth factor–β (TGF-β), (iii) weakened immunosuppression by regulatory T cells, and (iv) improved lung tumor regression and long-term survival in mice. Respiratory hyperoxia also promoted the regression of spontaneous metastasis from orthotopically grown breast tumors. These effects are entirely T cell– and natural killer cell–dependent, thereby justifying the testing of supplemental oxygen as an immunological coadjuvant to combine with existing immunotherapies for cancer.
PMCID: PMC4641038  PMID: 25739764
6.  The Role of Adenosine in Alzheimer’s Disease 
Current Neuropharmacology  2009;7(3):207-216.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disorder of the central nervous system manifested by cognitive and memory deterioration, a variety of neuropsychiatric symptoms, behavioral disturbances, and progressive impairment of daily life activities. Current pharmacotherapies are restricted to symptomatic interventions but do not prevent progressive neuronal degeneration. Therefore, new therapeutic strategies are needed to intervene with these progressive pathological processes. In the past several years adenosine, a ubiquitously released purine ribonucleoside, has become important for its neuromodulating capability and its emerging positive experimental effects in neurodegenerative diseases. Recent research suggests that adenosine receptors play important roles in the modulation of cognitive function. The present paper attempts to review published reports and data from different studies showing the evidence of a relationship between adenosinergic function and AD-related cognitive deficits. Epidemiological studies have found an association between coffee (a nonselective adenosine receptor antagonist) consumption and improved cognitive function in AD patients and in the elderly. Long-term administration of caffeine in transgenic animal models showed a reduced amyloid burden in brain with better cognitive performance. Antagonists of adenosine A2A receptors mimic these beneficial effects of caffeine on cognitive function. Neuronal cell cultures with amyloid beta in the presence of an A2A receptor antagonist completely prevented amyloid beta-induced neurotoxicity. These findings suggest that the adenosinergic system constitutes a new therapeutic target for AD, and caffeine and A2A receptor antagonists may have promise to manage cognitive dysfunction in AD.
PMCID: PMC2769004  PMID: 20190962
Adenosine receptor; Alzheimer’s disease; amyloid beta; caffeine; cognition; neuromodulation.
7.  Methotrexate up-regulates ecto-5′-nucleotidase/CD73 and reduces the frequency of T lymphocytes in the glioblastoma microenvironment 
Purinergic Signalling  2016;12(2):303-312.
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is a deadly cancer characterized by a pro-tumoral immune response. T-regulatory (Treg) lymphocytes suppress effector immune cells through cytokine secretion and the adenosinergic system. Ecto-5′-nucleotidase/CD73 plays a crucial role in Treg-mediated immunosuppression in the GBM microenvironment (GME). Methotrexate (MTX) is an immunosuppressive drug that can increase the extracellular concentration of adenosine. In this manuscript, C6 GBM cells were treated with 1.0 μM MTX, and ecto-5′-nucleotidase/CD73 expression and extracellular AMP metabolism were analyzed in vitro. For in vivo studies, rats with implanted GBM were treated for 10 days with MTX-loaded lipid-core nanocapsules (MTX-LNCs, 1 mg/kg/day). The activity of ectonucleotidase and the expression of NTPDase1/CD39 and ecto-5′-nucleotidase/CD73 were measured. The frequencies of T lymphocytes (CD3+CD4+, CD3+CD8+, and CD4+CD25highCD39+) were quantified. In vitro, treatment with MTX increased CD73 expression and activity in C6 cells, which is in agreement with higher levels of extracellular adenosine. In vivo, MTX-LNC treatment increased CD39 expression on CD3+CD8+ lymphocytes. In addition, MTX-LNC treatment up-regulated CD73 expression in tissue isolated from GBM, a finding that is in agreement with the higher activity of this enzyme. More specifically, the treatment increased CD73 expression on CD3+CD4+ and CD3+CD8+ lymphocytes. Treatment with MTX-LNCs decreased the frequencies of T-cytotoxic, T-helper, and Treg lymphocytes in the GME. Although more studies are necessary to better understand the complex cross-talk mediated by supra-physiological concentrations of adenosine in the GME, these studies demonstrate that MTX treatment increases CD73 enzyme expression and AMP hydrolysis, leading to an increase in adenosine production and immunosuppressive capability.
PMCID: PMC4854832  PMID: 26910734
Ecto-5′-nucleotidase/CD73; Adenosine; NTPDase1/CD39; Regulatory T lymphocytes; Glioblastoma; Methotrexate
8.  High homocysteine levels prevent via H2S the CoCl2‐induced alteration of lymphocyte viability 
High homocysteine (HCy) levels are associated with lymphocyte‐mediated inflammatory responses that are sometimes in turn related to hypoxia. Because adenosine is a potent lymphocyte suppressor produced in hypoxic conditions and shares metabolic pathways with HCy, we addressed the influence of high HCy levels on the hypoxia‐induced, adenosine‐mediated, alteration of lymphocyte viability. We treated mitogen‐stimulated human lymphocytes isolated from healthy individuals and the human lymphoma T‐cell line CEM with cobalt chloride (CoCl2)to reproduce hypoxia. We found that CoCl2‐altered cell viability was dose‐dependently reversed using HCy. In turn, the HCy effect was inhibited using DL‐propargylglycine, a specific inhibitor of the hydrogen sulphide (H2S)‐synthesizing enzyme cystathionine‐γ‐lyase involved in HCy catabolism. We then addressed the intracellular metabolic pathway of adenosine and HCy, and the role of the adenosine A2A receptor (A2 AR). We observed that: (i) hypoxic conditions lowered the intracellular concentration of HCy by increasing adenosine production, which resulted in high A2 AR expression and 3′, 5′‐cyclic adenosine monophosphate production; (ii) increasing intracellular HCy concentration reversed the hypoxia‐induced adenosinergic signalling despite high adenosine concentration by promoting both S‐adenosylhomocysteine and H2S production; (iii) DL‐propargylglycine that inhibits H2S production abolished the HCy effect. Together, these data suggest that high HCy levels prevent, via H2S production and the resulting down‐regulation of A2 AR expression, the hypoxia‐induced adenosinergic alteration of lymphocyte viability. We point out the relevance of these mechanisms in the pathophysiology of cardiovascular diseases.
PMCID: PMC4956953  PMID: 27061011
adenosine; A2A receptor; CoCl2; H2S; homocysteine; hypoxia; lymphocyte
9.  Resident Cardiac Immune Cells and Expression of the Ectonucleotidase Enzymes CD39 and CD73 after Ischemic Injury 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e34730.
The ectoenzymes CD39 and CD73 are expressed by a broad range of immune cells and promote the extracellular degradation of nucleotides to anti-inflammatory adenosine. This study explored the abundance of CD73 and CD39 on circulating and resident cardiac leukocytes and coronary endothelial cells under control conditions and in response to inflammation following myocardial ischemia and reperfusion (I/R).
Methods and Results
A method was elaborated to permit FACS analysis of non-myocardial cells (resident leukocytes, coronary endothelium and CD31− CD45− cells) of the unstressed heart. Under control conditions the murine heart contained 2.3×103 resident leukocytes/mg tissue, the most prominent fraction being antigen-presenting mononuclear cells (CD11b+ CD11c+ F4/80+ MHCII+) followed by B-cells, monocytes and T-cells. CD73 was highly expressed on circulating and resident cardiac lymphoid cells with little expression on myeloid cells, while the opposite was true for CD39. Cardiomyocytes and erythrocytes do not measurably express CD39/CD73 and CD39 dominates on coronary endothelium. Three days after I/R, CD73 was significantly upregulated on invading granulocytes (2.8-fold) and T-cells (1.5-fold). Compared with coronary endothelial cells, CD73 associated with leukocytes comprised 2/3 of the total cardiac CD73.
Our study suggests that extracellular ATP formed during I/R is preferentially degraded by CD39 present on myeloid cells, while the formation of immunosuppressive adenosine is mainly catalysed by CD73 present on granulocytes and lymphoid cells. Upregulated CD73 on granulocytes and T-cells infiltrating the injured heart is consistent with the existence of an autocrine adenosinergic loop which may promote the healing process.
PMCID: PMC3326036  PMID: 22514659
10.  Regulation of Leukocyte Function by Adenosine Receptors 
The immune system responds to cues in the microenvironment to make acute and chronic adaptations in response to inflammation and injury. Locally produced purine nucleotides and adenosine provide receptor-mediated signaling to all bone-marrow derived cells of the immune system to modulate their responses. This review summarizes recent advances in our understanding of the effects of adenosine signaling through G protein-coupled adenosine receptors on cells of the immune system. Adenosine A2A receptors (A2ARs) have a generally suppressive effect on the activation of immune cells. Moreover, their transcription is strongly induced by signals that activate macrophages or dendritic cells through toll-like receptors, or T cells through T cell receptors. A2AR induction is responsible for producing a gradual dissipation of inflammatory responses. A2AR activation is particularly effective in limiting the activation of invariant NKT (iNKT) cells that play a central role in acute reperfusion injury. A2A agonists have clinical promise for the treatment of vaso-occlusive tissue injury. Blockade of A2A receptors may be useful to enhance immune-mediated killing of cancer cells. A2BR expression also is transcriptionally regulated by hypoxia, cytokines, and oxygen radicals. Acute A2BR activation attenuates the production of proinflammatory cytokines from macrophages, but sustained activation facilitates macrophage and dendritic cell remodeling and the production of acute phase proteins and angiogenic factors that may participate in evoking insulin resistance and tissue fibrosis. A2BR activation also influences macrophage and neutrophil function by influencing expression of the anti-inflammatory netrin receptor, UNC5B. The therapeutic significance of adenosine-mediated effects on the immune system is discussed.
PMCID: PMC4211873  PMID: 21586357
Leukocytes; Lymphocytes; platelets; dendritic cells; macrophages; invariant NKT cells
11.  Effect of Diabetes/Hyperglycemia on the Rat Retinal Adenosinergic System 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e67499.
The early stages of diabetic retinopathy (DR) are characterized by alterations similar to neurodegenerative and inflammatory conditions such as increased neural apoptosis, microglial cell activation and amplified production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Adenosine regulates several physiological functions by stimulating four subtypes of receptors, A1AR, A2AAR, A2BAR, and A3AR. Although the adenosinergic signaling system is affected by diabetes in several tissues, it is unknown whether diabetic conditions in the retina can also affect it. Adenosine delivers potent suppressive effects on virtually all cells of the immune system, but its potential role in the context of DR has yet to be studied in full. In this study, we used primary mixed cultures of rat retinal cells exposed to high glucose conditions, to mimic hyperglycemia, and a streptozotocin rat model of type 1 diabetes to determine the effect diabetes/hyperglycemia have on the expression and protein levels of adenosine receptors and of the enzymes adenosine deaminase and adenosine kinase. We found elevated mRNA and protein levels of A1AR and A2AAR, in retinal cell cultures under high glucose conditions and a transient increase in the levels of the same receptors in diabetic retinas. Adenosine deaminase and adenosine kinase expression and protein levels showed a significant decrease in diabetic retinas 30 days after diabetes induction. An enzymatic assay performed in retinal cell cultures revealed a marked decrease in the activity of adenosine deaminase under high glucose conditions. We also found an increase in extracellular adenosine levels accompanied by a decrease in intracellular levels when retinal cells were subjected to high glucose conditions. In conclusion, this study shows that several components of the retinal adenosinergic system are affected by diabetes and high glucose conditions, and the modulation observed may uncover a possible mechanism for the alleviation of the inflammatory and excitotoxic conditions observed in diabetic retinas.
PMCID: PMC3696088  PMID: 23840723
12.  Fall in oxygen tension of culture medium stimulates the adenosinergic signalling of a human T cell line 
Purinergic Signalling  2012;8(4):661-667.
We examined the short-course expression of various parameters involved in the adenosinergic signalling of a human T cell line during in vitro decrease of the medium culture oxygen tension mimicking in vivo hypoxia. Fall of 92 mmHg in oxygen tension of culture medium induced in CEM, a CD4+ human T cell line, a continuous production of hypoxia-inducing factor-1α with a plateau value at 9 h, a rapid increase in adenosine production peaking at 3 h and a decrease in adenosine deaminase peaking at 6 h. The adenosine A2A receptor (A2AR) protein level of CEM cells was enhanced with a peak at 6 h. Intracellular 3′,5′-cyclic adenosine monophosphate accumulated in CEM cells with a maximal level at 9 h. These results show that a human-cultured T cells line can upregulate its own adenosine production and A2AR expression during exposure to acute hypoxia. Hypoxia-increased stimulation of the adenosinergic signalling of T cells may have immunosuppressive properties and, consequently, A2AR agonists may have therapeutic relevance.
PMCID: PMC3486161  PMID: 22331499
Hypoxia; HIF-1α; Adenosine; A2AR; T cells
13.  FcgammaR expression on macrophages is related to severity and chronicity of synovial inflammation and cartilage destruction during experimental immune-complex-mediated arthritis (ICA) 
Arthritis Research  2000;2(6):489-503.
We investigated the role of Fcγ receptors (FcγRs) on synovial macrophages in immune-complex-mediated arthritis (ICA). ICA elicited in knee joints of C57BL/6 mice caused a short-lasting, florid inflammation and reversible loss of proteoglycans (PGs), moderate chondrocyte death, and minor erosion of the cartilage. In contrast, when ICA was induced in knee joints of Fc receptor (FcR) γ-chain-/- C57BL/6 mice, which lack functional FcγRI and RIII, inflammation and cartilage destruction were prevented. When ICA was elicited in DBA/1 mice, a very severe, chronic inflammation was observed, and significantly more chondrocyte death and cartilage erosion than in arthritic C57BL/6 mice. The synovial lining and peritoneal macrophages of naïve DBA/1 mice expressed a significantly higher level of FcγRs than was seen in C57BL/6 mice. Moreover, elevated and prolonged expression of IL-1 was found after stimulation of these cells with immune complexes. Zymosan or streptococcal cell walls caused comparable inflammation and only mild cartilage destruction in all strains. We conclude that FcγR expression on synovial macrophages may be related to the severity of synovial inflammation and cartilage destruction during ICA.
Fcγ receptors (FcγRs) present on cells of the haematopoietic lineage communicate with IgG-containing immune complexes that are abundant in the synovial tissue of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). In mice, three classes of FcγR (RI, RII, and RIII) have been described. Binding of these receptors leads to either activation (FcγRI and RIII) or deactivation (FcγRII) of intracellular transduction pathways. Together, the expression of activating and inhibitory receptors is thought to drive immune-complex-mediated diseases.
Earlier studies in our laboratory showed that macrophages of the synovial lining are of utmost importance in the onset and propagation of immune-complex-driven arthritic diseases. Selective depletion of macrophages in the joint downregulated both inflammation and cartilage destruction. As all three classes of FcγR are expressed on synovial macrophages, these cells are among the first that come in contact with immune complexes deposited in the joint. Recently, we observed that when immune complexes were injected into the knee joints of mice, strains susceptible to collagen-type-II arthritis (DBA/1, B10.RIII) developed more severe arthritis than nonsusceptible strains did, or even developed chronic arthritis. One reason why these strains are more susceptible might be their higher levels of FcγRs on macrophage membranes. To test this hypothesis, we investigated the role of FcγRs in inflammation and cartilage damage during immune-complex-mediated arthritis (ICA). First, we studied arthritis and subsequent cartilage damage in mice lacking functional FcγRI and RIII (FcR γ-chain-/- mice). Next, DBA/1 mice, which are prone to develop collagen-type-II arthritis (`collagen-induced arthritis'; CIA) and are hypersensitive to immune complexes, were compared with control C57BL/6 mice as regards cartilage damage and the expression and function of FcγRs on their macrophages.
To examine whether FcγR expression on macrophages is related to severity of synovial inflammation and cartilage destruction during immune-complex-mediated joint inflammation.
ICA was induced in three strains of mice (FcR γ-chain-/-, C57BL/6, and DBA/1, which have, respectively, no functional FcγRI and RIII, intermediate basal expression of FcγRs, and high basal expression of FcγRs) by passive immunisation using rabbit anti-lysozyme antibodies, followed by poly-L-lysine lysozyme injection into the right knee joint 1 day later. In other experiments, streptococcal-cell-wall (SCW)- or zymosan-induced arthritis was induced by injecting SCW (25 μg) or zymosan (180 μg) directly into the knee joint. At several time points after arthritis induction, knee joints were dissected and studied either histologically (using haematoxylin/eosin or safranin O staining) or immuno-histochemically. The arthritis severity and the cartilage damage were scored separately on an arbitrary scale of 0-3.
FcγRs were immunohistochemically detected using the monoclonal antibody 2.4G2, which detects both FcγRII and RIII. Deposition of IgG and C3c in the arthritic joint tissue was also detected immunohistochemically. Expression of FcγRs by murine peritoneal macrophages was measured using a fluorescence-activated cell sorter (FACS).
Peritoneal macrophages were stimulated using heat-aggregated gamma globulins (HAGGs), and production of IL-1 was measured using a bioassay. To assess the levels of IL-1 and its receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra) during arthritis, tissue was dissected and washed in RPMI medium. Washouts were tested for levels of IL-1 and IL-1Ra using radioimmunoassay and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. mRNA was isolated from the tissue, and levels of macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP)-2, monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP)-1, IL-1, and IL-1Ra were determined using semiquantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).
ICA induced in knee joints of C57BL/6 mice caused a florid inflammation at day 3 after induction. To investigate whether this arthritis was FcγR-mediated, ICA was induced in FcR γ-chain-/- mice, which lack functional FcγRI and RIII. At day3, virtually no inflammatory cells were found in their knee joints. Levels of mRNA of IL-1, IL-1Ra, MCP-1, and MIP-2, which are involved in the onset of this arthritis, were significantly lower in FcR γ-chain-/- mice than in control C57BL/6 mice. Levels of IL-1 protein were also measured. At 6 h after ICA induction, FcR γ-chain-/- mice and control C57BL/6 mice showed similar IL-1 production as measured by protein level. By 24 h after induction, however, IL-1 production in the FcR γ-chain-/- mice was below the detection limit, whereas the controls were still producing a significant amount. To investigate whether the difference in reaction to immune complexes between the DBA/1 and C57BL/6 mice might be due to variable expression of FcγRs in the knee joint, expression in situ of FcγRs in naïve knee joints of these mice was determined. The monoclonal antibody 2.4G2, which detects both FcγRII and RIII, stained macrophages from the synovial lining of DBA/1 mice more intensely than those from C57BL/6 mice. This finding suggests a higher constitutive expression of FcγRs by macrophages of the autoimmune-prone DBA/1 mice. To quantify the difference in FcγR expression on macrophages of the two strains, we determined the occurrence of FcγRs on peritoneal macrophages by FACS analysis. The levels of FcγR expressed by macrophages were twice as high in the DBA/1 mice as in the C57BL/6 mice (mean fluorescence, respectively, 440 ± 50 and 240 ± 30 intensity per cell). When peritoneal macrophages of both strains were stimulated with immune complexes (HAGGs), we found that the difference in basal FcγR expression was functional. The stimulated macrophages from DBA/1 mice had significantly higher IL-1α levels (120 and 135 pg/ml at 24 and 48 h, respectively) than cells from C57BL/6 mice (45 and 50 pg/ml, respectively).
When arthritis was induced using other arthritogenic triggers than immune complexes (zymosan, SCW), all the mouse strains tested (DBA/1, FcR γ-chain-/-, and C57BL/6) showed similar inflammation, indicating that the differences described above are found only when immune complexes are used to elicit arthritis.
We next compared articular cartilage damage in arthritic joints of the three mouse strains FcR γ-chain-/-, C57BL/6 (intermediate basal expression of FcγRs), and DBA/1 (high basal expression of FcγRs). Three indicators of cartilage damage were investigated: depletion of PGs, chondrocyte death, and erosion of the cartilage matrix. At day 3 after induction of ICA, there was no PG depletion in FcR γ-chain-/- mice, whereas PG depletion in the matrix of the C57BL/6 mice was marked and that in the arthritic DBA/1 mice was even greater. PG depletion was still massive at days 7 and 14 in the DBA/1 mice, whereas by day 14 the PG content was almost completely restored in knee joints of the C57BL/6 mice. Chondrocyte death and erosion of cartilage matrix, two indicators of more severe cartilage destruction, were significantly higher in the DBA/1 than in the C57BL/6 mice, while both indicators were completely absent in the FcR γ-chain-/- mice. Again, when arthritis was induced using other triggers (SCW, zymosan), all strains showed similar PG depletion and no chondrocyte death or matrix erosion. These findings underline the important role of immune complexes and FcγRs in irreversible cartilage damage.
Our findings indicate that inflammation and subsequent cartilage damage caused by immune complexes may be related to the occurrence of FcγRs on macrophages. The absence of functional FcγRI and RIII prevented inflammation and cartilage destruction after induction of ICA, whereas high basal expression of FcγRs on resident joint macrophages of similarly treated mice susceptible to autoimmune arthritis was correlated with markedly more synovial inflammation and cartilage destruction. The difference in joint inflammation between the three strains was not due to different susceptibilities to inflammation per se, since intra-articular injection of zymosan or SCW caused comparable inflammation. Although extensive inflammatory cell mass was found in the synovium of all strains after intra-articular injection of zymosan, no irreversible cartilage damage (chondrocyte death or matrix erosion) was found. ICA induced in C57BL/6 and DBA/1 mice did cause irreversible cartilage damage at later time points, indicating that immune complexes and FcγRs play an important role in inducing irreversible cartilage damage. Macrophages communicate with immune complexes via Fcγ receptors. Absence of functional activating receptors completely abrogates the synovial inflammation, as was shown after ICA induction in FcR γ-chain-/- mice. However, the γ-chain is essential not only in FcγRI and RIII but also for FcεRI (found on mast cells) and the T cell receptor (TcR)-CD3 (Tcells) complex of γδT cells. However, T, B, or mast cells do not play a role in this arthritis that is induced by passive immunisation. Furthermore, this effect was not caused by a difference in clearance of IgG or complement deposition in the tissue. In this study, DBA/1 mice, which are susceptible to collagen-induced autoimmune arthritis and in a recent study have been shown to react hypersensitively to immune complexes, are shown to express higher levels of FcγRs on both synovial and peritoneal macrophages. Because antibodies directed against the different subclasses of FcγR are not available, no distinction could be made between FcγRII and RIII. Genetic differences in DBA/1 mice in genes coding for or regulating FcγRs may be responsible for altered FcγR expression. If so, these mouse strains would have a heightened risk for immune-complex-mediated diseases.
To provide conclusive evidence for the roles of the various classes of FcγR during ICA, experiments are needed in which FcγRs are blocked with specific antibodies, or in which knockout mice lacking one specific class of FcγR are used. The only available specific antibody to FcγR (2.4G2) has a stimulatory effect on cells once bound to the receptor, and therefore cannot be used in blocking experiments. Experiments using specific knockout mice are now being done in our laboratory.
Macrophages are the dominant type of cell present in chronic inflammation during RA and their number has been shown to correlate well with severe cartilage destruction. Apart from that, in humans, these synovial tissue macrophages express activating FcRs, mainly FcγIIIa, which may lead to activation of these macrophages by IgG-containing immune complexes. The expression of FcRs on the surface of these cells may have important implications for joint inflammation and severe cartilage destruction and therefore FCRs may constitute a new target for therapeutic intervention.
PMCID: PMC17821  PMID: 11056679
autoimmunity; cytokines; Fc receptors; inflammation; macrophages
14.  The adenosine transporter, ENT1, in cardiomyocytes is sensitive to inhibition by ethanol in a kinase-dependent manner: implications for ethanol-dependent cardioprotection and nucleoside analog drug cytotoxicity 
Purinergic Signalling  2013;10(2):305-312.
The adenosine transporter 1 (ENT1) transports nucleosides, such as adenosine, and cytotoxic nucleoside analog drugs. ENT1 is well established to play a role in adenosinergic signaling in the cardiovascular system by modulating adenosine levels. Moderate ethanol consumption is cardioprotective and underlying mechanisms of action are not clear although adenosinergic signaling has been implicated. Here, we show that ethanol (5–200 mM) significantly reduces ENT1-dependent [3H] 2-chloroadenosine uptake (by up to 27 %) in the cardiomyocyte cell line, HL-1. Inhibition or absence of ENT1 is known to be cardioprotective, suggesting that the interaction of ethanol with ENT1 may promote adenosinergic cardioprotective pathways in the cardiovasculature.
Ethanol sensitivity of adenosine uptake is altered by pharmacological activation of PKA and PKC. Primary cardiomyocytes from PKCε-null mice have significantly greater sensitivity to inhibition (by approximately 37 %) of adenosine uptake by ethanol than controls. These data suggest that the presence of ethanol may compromise ENT1-dependent nucleoside analog drug cytotoxicity, and indeed, ethanol (5 mM) reduces the cytotoxic effects of gemcitabine (2 nM), an anti-cancer drug, in the human cancer cell line, HTB2. Thus, the pharmacological inhibition of ENT1 by ethanol may contribute to ethanol-dependent cardioprotection but compromise gemcitabine cytotoxicity.
PMCID: PMC4040176  PMID: 24163005
ENT1; Ethanol; Gemcitabine; Regulation; Adenosine; Transporter
15.  An optimized approach to study endocannabinoid signaling: evidence against constitutive activity of rat brain adenosine A1 and cannabinoid CB1 receptors 
British Journal of Pharmacology  2003;140(8):1451-1459.
At nanomolar concentrations, SR141716 and AM251 act as specific and selective antagonists of the cannabinoid CB1 receptor. In the micromolar range, these compounds were shown to inhibit basal G-protein activity, and this is often interpreted to implicate constitutive activity of the CB1 receptors in native tissue. We show here, using [35S]GTPγS binding techniques, that micromolar concentrations of SR141716 and AM251 inhibit basal G-protein activity in rat cerebellar membranes, but only in conditions where tonic adenosine A1 receptor signaling is not eliminated.Unlike lipophilic A1 receptor antagonists (potency order DPCPX≫N-0840 ≈cirsimarin>caffeine), adenosine deaminase (ADA) was not fully capable in eliminating basal A1 receptor-dependent G-protein activity. Importantly, all antagonists reduced basal signal to the same extent (20%), and the response evoked by the inverse agonist DPCPX was not reversed by the neutral antagonist N-0840. These data indicate that rat brain A1 receptors are not constitutively active, but that an ADA-resistant adenosine pool is responsible for tonic A1 receptor activity in brain membranes.SR141716 and AM251, at concentrations fully effective in reversing CB1-mediated responses (10−6 M), did not reduce basal G-protein activity, indicating that CB1 receptors are not constitutively active in these preparations.At higher concentrations (1–2.5 × 10−5 M), both antagonists reduced basal G-protein activity in control and ADA-treated membranes, but had no effect when A1 receptor signaling was blocked with DPCPX. Moreover, the CB1 antagonists right-shifted A1 agonist dose–response curves without affecting maximal responses, suggesting competitive mode of antagonist action. The CB1 antagonists did not affect muscarinic acetylcholine or GABAB receptor signaling.When further optimizing G-protein activation assay for the labile endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), we show, by using HPLC, that pretreatment of cerebellar membranes with methyl arachidonoyl fluorophosphonate (MAFP) fully prevented enzymatic degradation of 2-AG and concomitantly enhanced the potency of 2-AG. In contrast to previous claims, MAFP exhibited no antagonist activity at the CB1 receptor.The findings establish an optimized method with improved signal-to-noise ratio to assess endocannabinoid-dependent G-protein activity in brain membranes, under assay conditions where basal adenosinergic tone and enzymatic degradation of 2-AG are fully eliminated.
PMCID: PMC1574161  PMID: 14623770
Adenosine A1 receptor; AM251; constitutive activity; cryptic adenosine; endocannabinoid; inverse agonist; monoacylglycerol lipase; SR141716
16.  Adverse and Protective Influences of Adenosine on the Newborn and Embryo: Implications for Preterm White Matter Injury and Embryo Protection 
Pediatric research  2011;69(4):271-278.
Few signaling molecules have the potential to influence the developing mammal as the nucleoside adenosine. Adenosine levels increase rapidly with tissue hypoxia and inflammation. Adenosine antagonists include the methlyxanthines caffeine and theophylline. The receptors that transduce adenosine action are the A1, A2a, A2b, and A3 adenosine receptors (ARs). In the postnatal period, A1AR activation may contribute to white matter injury in the preterm infant by altering oligodendrocyte (OL) development. In models of perinatal brain injury, caffeine is neuroprotective against periventricular white matter injury (PWMI) and hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). Supporting the notion that blockade of adenosine action is of benefit in the premature infant, caffeine reduces the incidence of broncho-pulmonary dysplasia and cerebral palsy in clinical studies. In comparison with the adverse effects on the postnatal brain, adenosine acts via A1ARs to play an essential role in protecting the embryo from hypoxia. Embryo protective effects are blocked by caffeine, and caffeine intake during early pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage and fetal growth retardation. Adenosine and adenosine antagonists play important modulatory roles during mammalian development. The protective and deleterious effects of adenosine depend on the time of exposure and target sites of action.
PMCID: PMC3100210  PMID: 21228731
17.  A Metabolic Immune Checkpoint: Adenosine in Tumor Microenvironment 
Within tumors, some areas are less oxygenated than others. Since their home ground is under chronic hypoxia, tumor cells adapt to this condition by activating aerobic glycolysis; however, this hypoxic environment is very harsh for incoming immune cells. Deprivation of oxygen limits availability of energy sources and induces accumulation of extracellular adenosine in tumors. Extracellular adenosine, upon binding with adenosine receptors on the surface of various immune cells, suppresses pro-inflammatory activities. In addition, signaling through adenosine receptors upregulates a number of anti-inflammatory molecules and immunoregulatory cells, leading to the establishment of a long-lasting immunosuppressive environment. Thus, due to hypoxia and adenosine, tumors can discourage antitumor immune responses no matter how the response was induced, whether it was spontaneous or artificially introduced with a therapeutic intention. Preclinical studies have shown the significance of adenosine in tumor survival strategy by demonstrating tumor regression after inactivation of adenosine receptors, inhibition of adenosine-producing enzymes, or reversal of tissue hypoxia. These promising results indicate a potential use of the inhibitors of the hypoxia–adenosine pathway for cancer immunotherapy.
PMCID: PMC4809887  PMID: 27066002
adenosine; tumor microenvironment; A2A adenosine receptor; CD73; tissue hypoxia; immunosuppression; immune checkpoint; cancer immunotherapy
18.  Caffeine and a selective adenosine A2A receptor antagonist induce sensitization and cross-sensitization behavior associated with increased striatal dopamine in mice 
Caffeine, a nonselective adenosine A1 and A2A receptor antagonist, is the most widely used psychoactive substance in the world. Evidence demonstrates that caffeine and selective adenosine A2A antagonists interact with the neuronal systems involved in drug reinforcement, locomotor sensitization, and therapeutic effect in Parkinson's disease (PD). Evidence also indicates that low doses of caffeine and a selective adenosine A2A antagonist SCH58261 elicit locomotor stimulation whereas high doses of these drugs exert locomotor inhibition. Since these behavioral and therapeutic effects are mediated by the mesolimbic and nigrostriatal dopaminergic pathways which project to the striatum, we hypothesize that low doses of caffeine and SCH58261 may modulate the functions of dopaminergic neurons in the striatum.
In this study, we evaluated the neuroadaptations in the striatum by using reverse-phase high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) to quantitate the concentrations of striatal dopamine and its metabolites, dihydroxylphenylacetic acid (DOPAC) and homovanilic acid (HVA), and using immunoblotting to measure the level of phosphorylation of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) at Ser31, following chronic caffeine and SCH58261 sensitization in mice. Moreover, to validate further that the behavior sensitization of caffeine is through antagonism at the adenosine A2A receptor, we also evaluate whether chronic pretreatment with a selective adenosine A2A antagonist SCH58261 or a selective adenosine A1 antagonist DPCPX can sensitize the locomotor stimulating effects of caffeine.
Chronic treatments with low dose caffeine (10 mg/kg) or SCH58261 (2 mg/kg) increased the concentrations of dopamine, DOPAC and HVA, concomitant with increased TH phosphorylation at Ser31 and consequently enhanced TH activity in the striatal tissues in both caffeine- and SCH58261-sensitized mice. In addition, chronic caffeine or SCH58261 administration induced locomotor sensitization, and locomotor cross-sensitization to caffeine was observed following chronic treatment of mice with SCH58261 but not with DPCPX.
Our study demonstrated that low dosages of caffeine and a selective adenosine A2A antagonist SCH58261 elicited locomotor sensitization and cross-sensitization, which were associated with elevated dopamine concentration and TH phosphorylation at Ser31 in the striatum. Blockade of adenosine A2A receptor may play an important role in the striatal neuroadaptations observed in the caffeine-sensitized and SCH58261-sensitized mice.
PMCID: PMC2843608  PMID: 20074377
19.  The Impact of Caffeine on the Behavioral Effects of Ethanol Related to Abuse and Addiction: A Review of Animal Studies 
The impact of caffeine on the behavioral effects of ethanol, including ethanol consumption and abuse, has become a topic of great interest due to the rise in popularity of the so-called energy drinks. Energy drinks high in caffeine are frequently taken in combination with ethanol under the popular belief that caffeine can offset some of the intoxicating effects of ethanol. However, scientific research has not universally supported the idea that caffeine can reduce the effects of ethanol in humans or in rodents, and the mechanisms mediating the caffeine–ethanol interactions are not well understood. Caffeine and ethanol have a common biological substrate; both act on neurochemical processes related to the neuromodulator adenosine. Caffeine acts as a nonselective adenosine A1 and A2A receptor antagonist, while ethanol has been demonstrated to increase the basal adenosinergic tone via multiple mechanisms. Since adenosine transmission modulates multiple behavioral processes, the interaction of both drugs can regulate a wide range of effects related to alcohol consumption and the development of ethanol addiction. In the present review, we discuss the relatively small number of animal studies that have assessed the interactions between caffeine and ethanol, as well as the interactions between ethanol and subtype-selective adenosine receptor antagonists, to understand the basic findings and determine the possible mechanisms of action underlying the caffeine–ethanol interactions.
PMCID: PMC3643311  PMID: 24761272
20.  Increased ectonucleotidase expression and activity in Treg of patients with head and neck cancer 
Regulatory T cells (Treg) frequency/activity are increased in cancer patients and play a major in tumor escape. While disease progression is favored by the presence of Treg, mechanisms used by Treg to suppress anti-tumor immunity are unknown. The ectonucleotidases CD39 and CD73 are expressed in Treg and convert ATP into immunosuppressive adenosine. In this study, the involvement of the adenosinergic pathway in Treg-mediated suppression in HNSCC patients was evaluated.
Experimental Design
HNSCC patients with an active disease (AD) (n=19) and patients with no evident disease (NED) after therapy (n=14) were studied. Ectonucleotidase expression on CD4+ T cells and CD4+CD25high Treg was evaluated by flow cytometry and compared to normal controls (NC). Ectonucleotidase activity was also compared within these 3 groups. The data were analyzed for associations of ectonucleotidase expression/function with disease stage.
The percentages and expression levels of CD39 and CD73 in CD4+ T cells and Treg were greater in HNSCC than NC and were highest in NED. Patients' Treg hydrolyzed ATP at higher rates and produced higher levels of adenosine than NC' Treg. The increased frequency and enzymatic activity of CD4+CD39+ cells corresponded to increased adenosine-mediated suppression of effector T cells, which was partly inhibited by ARL67156, an ectonucleotidase inhibitor, and by ZM241385, a selective A2a/A2b receptor antagonist.
CD39+ Treg frequency and adenosine-mediated suppression are significantly increased in HNSCC patients. The adenosinergic pathway is involved in Treg-mediated immunosuppression in cancer and its attenuation could be a promising immunotherapeutic strategy for patients with HNSCC.
PMCID: PMC2763335  PMID: 19825957
head and neck cancer; ectonucleotidases; regulatory T cells; tumor escape; adenosine
21.  Increased Level of Extracellular ATP at Tumor Sites: In Vivo Imaging with Plasma Membrane Luciferase 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(7):e2599.
There is growing awareness that tumour cells build up a “self-advantageous” microenvironment that reduces effectiveness of anti-tumour immune response. While many different immunosuppressive mechanisms are likely to come into play, recent evidence suggests that extracellular adenosine acting at A2A receptors may have a major role in down-modulating the immune response as cancerous tissues contain elevated levels of adenosine and adenosine break-down products. While there is no doubt that all cells possess plasma membrane adenosine transporters that mediate adenosine uptake and may also allow its release, it is now clear that most of extracellularly-generated adenosine originates from the catabolism of extracellular ATP.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Measurement of extracellular ATP is generally performed in cell supernatants by HPLC or soluble luciferin-luciferase assay, thus it generally turns out to be laborious and inaccurate. We have engineered a chimeric plasma membrane-targeted luciferase that allows in vivo real-time imaging of extracellular ATP. With this novel probe we have measured the ATP concentration within the tumour microenvironment of several experimentally-induced tumours.
Our results show that ATP in the tumour interstitium is in the hundrends micromolar range, while it is basically undetectable in healthy tissues. Here we show that a chimeric plasma membrane-targeted luciferase allows in vivo detection of high extracellular ATP concentration at tumour sites. On the contrary, tumour-free tissues show undetectable extracellular ATP levels. Extracellular ATP may be crucial for the tumour not only as a stimulus for growth but also as a source of an immunosuppressive agent such as adenosine. Our approach offers a new tool for the investigation of the biochemical composition of tumour milieu and for development of novel therapies based on the modulation of extracellular purine-based signalling.
PMCID: PMC2440522  PMID: 18612415
22.  Extracellular Adenosine Generation in the Regulation of Pro-Inflammatory Responses and Pathogen Colonization 
Biomolecules  2015;5(2):775-792.
Adenosine, an immunomodulatory biomolecule, is produced by the ecto-enzymes CD39 (nucleoside triphosphate dephosphorylase) and CD73 (ecto-5'-nucleotidase) by dephosphorylation of extracellular ATP. CD73 is expressed by many cell types during injury, infection and during steady-state conditions. Besides host cells, many bacteria also have CD39-CD73-like machinery, which helps the pathogen subvert the host inflammatory response. The major function for adenosine is anti-inflammatory, and most recent research has focused on adenosine’s control of inflammatory mechanisms underlying various autoimmune diseases (e.g., colitis, arthritis). Although adenosine generated through CD73 provides a feedback to control tissue damage mediated by a host immune response, it can also contribute to immunosuppression. Thus, inflammation can be a double-edged sword: it may harm the host but eventually helps by killing the invading pathogen. The role of adenosine in dampening inflammation has been an area of active research, but the relevance of the CD39/CD73-axis and adenosine receptor signaling in host defense against infection has received less attention. Here, we review our recent knowledge regarding CD73 expression during murine Salmonellosis and Helicobacter-induced gastric infection and its role in disease pathogenesis and bacterial persistence. We also explored a possible role for the CD73/adenosine pathway in regulating innate host defense function during infection.
PMCID: PMC4496696  PMID: 25950510
adenosine; CD39; CD73; adenosine receptors; immune response; lymphocytes; macrophage; bacterial-persistence; inflammation; cytokine
23.  Soluble Ecto-5′-nucleotidase (5′-NT), Alkaline Phosphatase, and Adenosine Deaminase (ADA1) Activities in Neonatal Blood Favor Elevated Extracellular Adenosine*  
The Journal of Biological Chemistry  2013;288(38):27315-27326.
Background: Newborns have elevated plasma adenosine levels, which may influence their immunological function.
Results: Compared with adults, newborns have elevated plasma 5′-NT and alkaline phosphatase activities and lower adenosine deaminase activity.
Conclusion: Soluble enzymes significantly influence extracellular purine metabolism in blood, and the levels of these enzymes in newborns promote elevated adenosine.
Significance: Higher adenosine generation in newborn blood may promote an anti-inflammatory immunological status.
Extracellular adenosine, a key regulator of physiology and immune cell function that is found at elevated levels in neonatal blood, is generated by phosphohydrolysis of adenine nucleotides released from cells and catabolized by deamination to inosine. Generation of adenosine monophosphate (AMP) in blood is driven by cell-associated enzymes, whereas conversion of AMP to adenosine is largely mediated by soluble enzymes. The identities of the enzymes responsible for these activities in whole blood of neonates have been defined in this study and contrasted to adult blood. We demonstrate that soluble 5′-nucleotidase (5′-NT) and alkaline phosphatase (AP) mediate conversion of AMP to adenosine, whereas soluble adenosine deaminase (ADA) catabolizes adenosine to inosine. Newborn blood plasma demonstrates substantially higher adenosine-generating 5′-NT and AP activity and lower adenosine-metabolizing ADA activity than adult plasma. In addition to a role in soluble purine metabolism, abundant AP expressed on the surface of circulating neonatal neutrophils is the dominant AMPase on these cells. Plasma samples from infant observational cohorts reveal a relative plasma ADA deficiency at birth, followed by a gradual maturation of plasma ADA through infancy. The robust adenosine-generating capacity of neonates appears functionally relevant because supplementation with AMP inhibited whereas selective pharmacologic inhibition of 5′-NT enhanced Toll-like receptor-mediated TNF-α production in neonatal whole blood. Overall, we have characterized previously unrecognized age-dependent expression patterns of plasma purine-metabolizing enzymes that result in elevated plasma concentrations of anti-inflammatory adenosine in newborns. Targeted manipulation of purine-metabolizing enzymes may benefit this vulnerable population.
PMCID: PMC3779727  PMID: 23897810
Adenosine; Adenosine Receptor; ADP; AMP; ATP; Immunology; Infectious Diseases; Innate Immunity; Purine; Purinergic Agonists
24.  Enhancement of tumor immunotherapy by deletion of the A2A adenosine receptor 
The A2A adenosine receptor plays a critical and non-redundant role in suppressing inflammation at sites of hypoxia and tissue damage. The tumor microenvironment has high levels of adenosine as a result of hypoxia and ectopic expression of enzymes responsible for the generation of extracellular adenosine. Thus, we sought to determine the ability of A2A receptor null mice to immunologically reject tumors. We observed that mice lacking the A2A adenosine receptor showed significantly delayed growth of lymphoma cells when compared to WT mice. Furthermore, when immunized with a low dose of tumor or with an irradiated GM-CSF–secreting tumor vaccine, A2A receptor null mice showed significantly enhanced protection from a subsequent high-dose challenge from both immunogenic and poorly immunogenic tumor lines. This increase in protection was accompanied by an increase in the number of tumor-antigen-specific CD8 T cells at the vaccine-site draining lymph node. Finally, we found that A2A receptor null mice displayed more robust anti-tumor responses than WT mice when they were treated with a soluble B7-DC/Fc fusion protein designed to antagonize B7-H1-mediated co-inhibition. This combinatorial immunotherapy strategy could also be recapitulated with pharmacological A2A receptor blockade paired with B7-DC/Fc administration. In light of these data, we believe that blockade of the A2A adenosine receptor is an attractive target for tumor immunotherapy that synergizes with other immunomodulatory approaches currently in clinical trials.
PMCID: PMC3589752  PMID: 22116345
A2a Adenosine receptor; Tumor; T cell; Co-inhibition; B7-DC; Vaccine
25.  Protection against cartilage and bone destruction by systemic interleukin-4 treatment in established murine type II collagen-induced arthritis 
Arthritis Research  1999;1(1):81-91.
Destruction of cartilage and bone are hallmarks of human rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and controlling these erosive processes is the most challenging objective in the treatment of RA. Systemic interleukin-4 treatment of established murine collagen-induced arthritis suppressed disease activity and protected against cartilage and bone destruction. Reduced cartilage pathology was confirmed by both decreased serum cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP) and histological examination. In addition, radiological analysis revealed that bone destruction was also partially prevented. Improved suppression of joint swelling was achieved when interleukin-4 treatment was combined with low-dose prednisolone treatment. Interestingly, synergistic reduction of both serum COMP and inflammatory parameters was noted when low-dose interleukin-4 was combined with prednisolone. Systemic treatment with interleukin-4 appeared to be a protective therapy for cartilage and bone in arthritis, and in combination with prednisolone at low dosages may offer an alternative therapy in RA.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is associated with an increased production of a range of cytokines including tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α and interleukin (IL)-1, which display potent proinflammatory actions that are thought to contribute to the pathogenesis of the disease. Although TNF-α seems to be the major cytokine in the inflammatory process, IL-1 is the key mediator with regard to cartilage and bone destruction. Apart from direct blockade of IL-1/TNF, regulation can be exerted at the level of modulatory cytokines such as IL-4 and IL-10. IL-4 is a pleiotropic T-cell derived cytokine that can exert either suppressive or stimulatory effects on different cell types, and was originally identified as a B-cell growth factor and regulator of humoral immune pathways. IL-4 is produced by activated CD4+ T cells and it promotes the maturation of Th2 cells. IL-4 stimulates proliferation, differentiation and activation of several cell types, including fibroblasts, endothelial cells and epithelial cells. IL-4 is also known to be a potent anti-inflammatory cytokine that acts by inhibiting the synthesis of proinflammatory cytokines such as IL-1, TNF-α, IL-6, IL-8 and IL-12 by macrophages and monocytes. Moreover, IL-4 stimulates the synthesis of several cytokine inhibitors such as interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra), soluble IL-1-receptor type II and TNF receptors IL-4 suppresses metalloproteinase production and stimulates tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-1 production in human mononuclear phagocytes and cartilage explants, indicating a protective effect of IL-4 towards extracellular matrix degradation. Furthermore, IL-4 inhibits both osteoclast activity and survival, and thereby blocks bone resorption in vitro. Of great importance is that IL-4 could not be detected in synovial fluid or in tissues. This absence of IL-4 in the joint probably contributes to the disturbance in the Th1/Th2 balance in chronic RA.
Collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) is a widely used model of arthritis that displays several features of human RA. Recently it was demonstrated that the onset of CIA is under stringent control of IL-4 and IL-10. Furthermore, it was demonstrated that exposure to IL-4 during the immunization stage reduced onset and severity of CIA. However, after cessation of IL-4 treatment disease expression increased to control values.
Because it was reported that IL-4 suppresses several proinflammatory cytokines and matrix degrading enzymes and upregulates inhibitors of both cytokines and catabolic enzymes, we investigated the tissue protective effect of systemic IL-4 treatment using established murine CIA as a model. Potential synergy of low dosages of anti-inflammatory glucocorticosteroids and IL-4 was also evaluated.
DBA-1J/Bom mice were immunized with bovine type II collagen and boosted at day 21. Mice with established CIA were selected at day 28 after immunization and treated for days with IL-4, prednisolone, or combinations of prednisolone and IL-4. Arthritis score was monitored visually. Joint pathology was evaluated by histology, radiology and serum cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP). In addition, serum levels of IL-1Ra and anticollagen antibodies were determined.
Treatment of established CIA with IL-4 (1 μg/day) resulted in suppression of disease activity as depicted in Figure 1. Of great interest is that, although 1 μg/day IL-4 had only a moderate effect on the inflammatory component of the disease activity, it strongly reduced cartilage pathology, as determined by histological examination (Fig. 1). Moreover, serum COMP levels were significantly reduced, confirming decreased cartilage involvement. In addition, both histological and radiological analysis showed that bone destruction was prevented (Fig. 1). Systemic IL-4 administration increased serum IL-1Ra levels and reduced anticollagen type II antibody levels. Treatment with low-dose IL-4 (0.1 μg/day) was ineffective in suppressing disease score, serum COMP or joint destruction. Synergistic suppression of both arthritis severity and COMP levels was noted when low-dose IL-4 was combined with prednisolone (0.05 mg/kg/day), however, which in itself was not effective.
In the present study, we demonstrate that systemic IL-4 treatment ameliorates disease progression of established CIA. Although clinical disease progression was only arrested and not reversed, clear protection against cartilage and bone destruction was noted. This is in accord with findings in both human RA and animal models of RA that show that inflammation and tissue destruction sometimes are uncoupled processes. Of great importance is that, although inflammation was still present, strong reduction in serum COMP was found after exposure to IL-4. This indicated that serum COMP levels reflected cartilage damage, although a limited contribution of the inflamed synovium cannot be excluded.
Increased serum IL-1Ra level (twofold) was found after systemic treatment with IL-4, but it is not likely that this could explain the suppression of CIA. We and others have reported that high dosages of IL-1Ra are needed for marked suppression of CIA. As reported previously, lower dosages of IL-4 did not reduce clinical disease severity of established CIA. Of importance is that combined treatment of low dosages of IL-4 and IL-10 appeared to have more potent anti-inflammatory effects, and markedly protected against cartilage destruction. Improved anti-inflammatory effect was achieved with IL-4/prednisolone treatment. In addition, synergistic effects were found for the reduction of cartilage and bone destruction. This indicates that systemic IL-4/prednisolone treatment may provide a cartilage and bone protective therapy for human RA.
Effects in mice of treatment with interleukin-4 or control on disease activity, cartilage damage and bone destruction. Mice were treated intraperitoneally for 7 days with either vehicle (control) or 1 μg/day interleukin-4 (IL-4). CIA, collagen-induced arthritis. *P < 0.05, versus control, by Mann-Whitney U test.
PMCID: PMC17779  PMID: 11056663
bone destruction; cartilage oligomeric matrix protein levels; collagen-induced arthritis; interleukin-4; prednisolone

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