Purines are by definition the nitrogenous bases of nucleotides and nucleosides, the two major purines being adenine and guanine. In pharmacology, the term purine has a wider application and is used to describe the nucleoside or nucleotide of adenine. Adenosine is the nucleoside formed by the attachment of adenine to the sugar, ribose. The nucleotides of adenine have at least one phosphate moiety attached to the sugar of the nucleotide, at the 5’-position in ATP, ADP and AMP (Figure 1). The related family of pyrimidine nucleosides include cytidine, thymidine and uridine, which also form the equivalent naturally occurring mono-, di- and triphosphate nucleotides, such as uridine 5’-triphosphate (UTP) (Figure 1). These nucleosides and nucleotides are involved in a wide range of intracellular biochemical pathways, in particular the provision of high energy substrates for metabolic activity. Additionally, these naturally occurring substances have pharmacological and physiological activity resulting from their interaction with cell-surface receptors.


Mast Cell Adenylyl Cyclase Adenosine Receptor Allergy Clin Immunol Contractile Response 
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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag Basel/Switzerland 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kenneth J. Broadley
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Pharmacology, Welsh School of PharmacyUniversity of WalesCardiff, WalesUK

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