N-formyl peptide receptors (FPRs) were first identified upon phagocytic leukocytes, but more than four decades of research has unearthed a plethora of non-myeloid roles for this receptor family. FPRs are expressed within neuronal tissues and markedly in the central nervous system, where FPR interactions with endogenous ligands have been implicated in the pathophysiology of several neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease, as well as neurological cancers such as neuroblastoma.
Whilst the homeostatic function of FPRs in the nervous system is currently undefined, a variety of novel physiological roles for this receptor family in the neuronal context have been posited in both human and animal settings. Rapid developments in recent years have implicated FPRs in the process of neurogenesis and neuronal differentiation which, upon greater characterisation, could represent a novel pharmacological target for neuronal regeneration therapies that may be used in the treatment of brain/spinal cord injury, stroke and neurodegeneration.
This review aims to summarize the recent progress made to determine the physiological role of FPRs in a neuronal setting, and to put forward a case for FPRs as a novel pharmacological target for conditions of the nervous system, and for their potential to open the door to novel neuronal regeneration therapies.
- Alzheimer's disease
- formyl peptide receptor
- neural regeneration
- neuronal differentiation