Translational Experimental Basis of Indirect Adenosine Receptor Agonist Stimulation for Bone Regeneration: A Review

Quinn T. Ehlen, Nicholas A. Mirsky, Blaire V. Slavin, Marcelo Parra, Vasudev Vivekanand Nayak, Bruce Cronstein, Lukasz Witek, Paulo Coelho

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Bone regeneration remains a significant clinical challenge, often necessitating surgical approaches when healing bone defects and fracture nonunions. Within this context, the modulation of adenosine signaling pathways has emerged as a promising therapeutic option, encouraging osteoblast activation and tempering osteoclast differentiation. A literature review of the PubMed database with relevant keywords was conducted. The search criteria involved in vitro or in vivo models, with clear methodological descriptions. Only studies that included the use of indirect adenosine agonists, looking at the effects of bone regeneration, were considered relevant according to the eligibility criteria. A total of 29 articles were identified which met the inclusion and exclusion criteria, and they were reviewed to highlight the preclinical translation of adenosine agonists. While preclinical studies demonstrate the therapeutic potential of adenosine signaling in bone regeneration, its clinical application remains unrealized, underscoring the need for further clinical trials. To date, only large, preclinical animal models using indirect adenosine agonists have been successful in stimulating bone regeneration. The adenosine receptors (A1, A2A, A2B, and A3) stimulate various pathways, inducing different cellular responses. Specifically, indirect adenosine agonists act to increase the extracellular concentration of adenosine, subsequently agonizing the respective adenosine receptors. The agonism of each receptor is dependent on its expression on the cell surface, the extracellular concentration of adenosine, and its affinity for adenosine. This comprehensive review analyzed the multitude of indirect agonists currently being studied preclinically for bone regeneration, discussing the mechanisms of each agonist, their cellular responses in vitro, and their effects on bone formation in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6104
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 2024


  • adenosine
  • bone regeneration
  • dipyridamole
  • indirect agonist

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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