Extracellular purines, including adenosine and ATP, are potent endogenous immunomodulatory molecules. Inosine, a degradation product of these purines, can reach high concentrations in the extracellular space under conditions associated with cellular metabolic stress such as inflammation or ischemia. In the present study, we investigated whether extracellular inosine can affect inflammatory/immune processes. In immunostimulated macrophages and spleen cells, inosine potently inhibited the production of the proinflammatory cytokines TNF-α, IL-1, IL-12, macrophage-inflammatory protein-1α, and IFN-γ, but failed to alter the production of the anti- inflammatory cytokine IL-10. The effect of inosine did not require cellular uptake by nucleoside transporters and was partially reversed by blockade of adenosine A1 and A2 receptors. Inosine inhibited cytokine production by a posttranscriptional mechanism. The activity of inosine was independent of activation of the p38 and p42/p44 mitogen-activated protein kinases, the phosphorylation of the c-Jun terminal kinase, the degradation of inhibitory factor κB, and elevation of intracellular cAMP. Inosine suppressed proinflammatory cytokine production and mortality in a mouse endotoxemic model. Taken together, inosine has multiple anti-inflammatory effects. These findings, coupled with the fact that inosine has very low toxicity, suggest that this agent may be useful in the treatment of inflammatory/ischemic diseases.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy