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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2018, Article ID 7019398, 10 pages
Review Article

The Role of Extracellular Adenosine Generation in the Development of Autoimmune Diseases

1Stem Cell Laboratory and Cell Therapy Center, Istituto Giannina Gaslini, 16148 Genova, Italy
2Department of Medical Sciences, Laboratory of Immunogenetics, University of Torino, 10126 Torino, Italy
3CeRMS, University of Torino, 10126 Torino, Italy
4Department of Medical Sciences, Section of Microbiology, University of Ferrara, 44121 Ferrara, Italy

Correspondence should be addressed to F. Morandi;

Received 28 October 2017; Revised 10 January 2018; Accepted 20 February 2018; Published 26 March 2018

Academic Editor: Shin-ichi Yokota

Copyright © 2018 F. Morandi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Adenosine (ADO) is an immunosuppressive molecule, which suppresses the immune responses by interacting with specific receptors expressed by immune effector cells. ADO is produced from ATP through the enzymatic activities of CD39 and CD73. Alternatively, ADO can be generated starting from NAD+, which is metabolized by the concerted action of CD38, CD203a/PC-1, and CD73. The role of ADO in immunity has been characterized in the last years in physiology and in pathological settings. This review examines a panel of reports focused on the functions of ADO in the context of human autoimmune/inflammatory diseases and the selected animal models. The final aim is to consider the role of adenosinergic ectoenzymes and ADO receptors as novel therapeutic targets for selected diseases.