The focus of this review is on G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) for which nonpeptidic ligands are known and have been evaluated for the treatment of inflammatory conditions. GPCRs are the most prevalent class of cell surface proteins in pharmaceutical research today, and GPCR-targeting drugs account for one tenth of worldwide pharmaceutical sales. Of over 800 human GPCRs identified to date, several hundred are activated by peptides/proteins and just over 30 of these have been identified so far as potential therapeutic targets for the treatment of inflammatory diseases. This review highlights those GPCRs and over 60 structurally diverse nonpeptidic compounds that interact with them and display pro- or anti- inflammatory properties. Among these GPCR targets are the receptors for peptides like bradykinin, chemokines, complement anaphylatoxins, corticotropin releasing factor, endothelins, melanocortins, tachykinins, urocortins, as well as the protease activated receptors (PARs). Other peptide activated GPCRs implicated in inflammation, like those that bind angiotensin II, N-formyl peptides, galanin, neuropeptide Y, opioids and oxytocin, are only briefly discussed because there is either less direct association with inflammation or few/no nonpeptidic antiinflammatory ligands known. While it is still very early in the development of antiinflammatory drugs that target GPCRs, there is already a wealth of information supporting their important roles as cellular sentries in inflammatory diseases. New opportunities are emerging to evaluate antiinflammatory activities of potent and selective GPCR-binding ligands, including those being developed for other disease indications. In summary, GPCRs deserve a great deal more attention as potential therapeutic targets in inflammatory diseases.
Centre for Drug Design and Development, Institute for Molecular Bioscience, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Qld 4072, Australia.
Publication date: December 1, 2005
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