An intricate network of activation and inhibitory signals tightly regulates immune responses. To date, multiple activation receptors have been described. These include receptors that mediate cellular functions such as adhesion, chemotaxis, cytokine signalling, mediator release, survival and phagocytosis. In contrast to these activation pathways, an opposing and suppressive receptor system has evolved. These receptors can override the signals elicited by the activation pathways and are broadly termed inhibitory receptors. Inhibitory receptors share unique intracellular signalling motifs and have key roles in various cellular and pathological conditions. Therefore, such receptors are potential targets for future therapeutics. In this review, we will discuss the structure and function of inhibitory receptors. In particular, we will focus on the expression and function of inhibitory receptors on mast cells and eosinophils and illustrate strategies for their inhibition in the settings of allergic inflammation.
Cite this as: D. Shik and A. Munitz, Clinical & Experimental Allergy, 2010 (40) 700–709.