Adenosine signaling and the immune system: When a lot could be too much

Luca Antonioli, Matteo Fornai, Corrado Blandizzi, Pál Pacher, György Haskó

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

22 Citations (Scopus)


Adenosine is increasingly recognized as a key mediator of the immune response. Signals delivered by extracellular adenosine are detected and transduced by G-protein-coupled cell-surface receptors, classified into four subtypes: A 1 , A 2A , A 2B and A 3 . These receptors, expressed virtually on all immune cells, modulate all aspects of immune/inflammatory responses. These immunoregulatory effects, which are mostly anti-inflammatory, contribute to the general tissue protective effects of adenosine and its receptors. In some instances, however, the effect of adenosine on the immune system is deleterious, as prolonged adenosine signaling can hinder anti-tumor and antibacterial immunity, thereby promoting cancer development and progression and sepsis, respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-15
Number of pages7
JournalImmunology letters
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019


  • Adenosine
  • Adenosine receptors
  • Cancer
  • Immune cells
  • Inflammation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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