Extracellular purine nucleosides stimulate cell division and morphogenesis: Pathological and physiological implications Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Extracellular purine nucleosides and nucleotides are ubiquitous, phylogenetically ancient, intercellular signals. Purines are released from hypoxic, damaged or dying cells. Purine nucleosides and nucleotides are potent mitogens for several types of cells such as fibroblasts, endothelial cells and neuroglia. They also induce other cell types to differentiate. For example, they act synergistically with nerve growth factor to stimulate neurite outgrowth from a pheochromocytoma cell line (PC12). We propose that after injury to tissues, including the central nervous system, purine nucleosides and nucleotides interact synergistically with other growth factors. They stimulate proliferation and morphological changes in the various cell types involved in the wound healing response. In the central nervous system this response includes glial proliferation, capillary endothelial cell proliferation, and sprouting of nerve axons. Since many actions of extracellular purines are mediated through specific cell surface receptors, this hypothesis has broad pharmacological implications.


  • Rathbone, Michel Piers
  • Christjanson, L
  • Deforge, S
  • Deluca, B
  • Gysbers, JW
  • Hindley, S
  • Jovetich, M
  • Middlemiss, P
  • Takhal, S

publication date

  • April 1992