, Volume 4, Issue 1 Supplement, pp 1-210,
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Purines 2008 Meeting 29 June – 2 July 2008, Copenhagen, Denmark

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Plenary Presentations

The struggle to establish purinergic signalling

Burnstock, Geoffrey

Autonomic Neuroscience Centre Royal Free and University College Medical School, Rowland Hill Street, London NW3 2PF, UK

Early experiments in the 1960’s will be described leading to the purinergic neurotransmission hypothesis proposed in 1972. The influence of publications by key figures such as Andrew Szent-Györgyi, Pamela Holton, Robert Berne, Mike Rand and Jack Eccles is recognised. Unfortunately, the hypothesis was regarded with scepticism by many for the next 25 years and stories of this resistance will be recounted. The cloning of receptors for purines and pyrimidines in the early 1990’s was an important turning point in the acceptance of the hypothesis and the important contributions of many outstanding scientists will be related. Current strong interest in the pathophysiological roles of purinergic signalling and exploration of the therapeutic potential for a number of disease conditions will b