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Papers of the Week

2020 Aug 03

Int J Mol Sci



Contribution of P2X4 Receptors to CNS Function and Pathophysiology.


Montilla A, Mata G P, Matute C, Domercq M
Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Aug 03; 21(15).
PMID: 32756482.


The release and extracellular action of ATP are a widespread mechanism for cell-to-cell communication in living organisms through activation of P2X and P2Y receptors expressed at the cell surface of most tissues, including the nervous system. Among ionototropic receptors, P2X4 receptors have emerged in the last decade as a potential target for CNS disorders such as epilepsy, ischemia, chronic pain, anxiety, multiple sclerosis and neurodegenerative diseases. However, the role of P2X4 receptor in each pathology ranges from beneficial to detrimental, although the mechanisms are still mostly unknown. P2X4 is expressed at low levels in CNS cells including neurons and glial cells. In normal conditions, P2X4 activation contributes to synaptic transmission and synaptic plasticity. Importantly, one of the genes present in the transcriptional program of myeloid cell activation is P2X4. Microglial P2X4 upregulation, the P2X4 state of microglia, seems to be common in most acute and chronic neurodegenerative diseases associated with inflammation. In this review, we summarize knowledge about the role of P2X4 receptors in the CNS physiology and discuss potential pitfalls and open questions about the therapeutic potential of blocking or potentiation of P2X4 for different pathologies.