Protease-activated receptors (PARs) are a novel family of G protein-coupled receptors. Signalling through PARs typically involves the cleavage of an extracellular region of the receptor by endogenous or exogenous proteases, which reveals a tethered ligand sequence capable of auto-activating the receptor. A considerable body of evidence has emerged over the past 20 years supporting a prominent role for PARs in a variety of human physiological and pathophysiological processes, and thus substantial attention has been directed towards developing drug-like molecules that activate or block PARs via non-proteolytic pathways. PARs are widely expressed within the respiratory tract, and their activation appears to exert significant modulatory influences on the level of bronchomotor tone, as well as on the inflammatory processes associated with a range of respiratory tract disorders. Nevertheless, there is debate as to whether the principal response to PAR activation is an augmentation or attenuation of airways inflammation. In this context, an important action of PAR activators may be to promote the generation and release of prostanoids, such as prostglandin E2, which have well-established anti-inflammatory effects in the lung. In this review, we primarily focus on the relationship between PARs, prostaglandins and inflammatory processes in the lung, and highlight their potential role in selected respiratory tract disorders, including pulmonary fibrosis, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Peters, T. J., & Henry, P. (2009). Protease-activated receptors and prostaglandins in inflammatory lung disease. British Journal of Pharmacology, 158(4), 1017-1033. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1476-5381.2009.00449.x