Table of Contents
Cardiovascular Psychiatry and Neurology
Volume 2009 (2009), Article ID 861324, 13 pages
Review Article

P2 X 7 Receptors in Neurological and Cardiovascular Disorders

Department of Pharmacology and Anesthesiology, University of Padova, Largo “E. Meneghetti” 2, 35131 Padova, Italy

Received 7 April 2009; Revised 26 April 2009; Accepted 27 April 2009

Academic Editor: Gjumrakch Aliev

Copyright © 2009 Stephen D. Skaper et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


P2X receptors are ATP-gated cation channels that mediate fast excitatory transmission in diverse regions of the brain and spinal cord. Several P2X receptor subtypes, including P2 X 7 , have the unusual property of changing their ion selectivity during prolonged exposure to ATP, which results in a channel pore permeable to molecules as large as 900 daltons. The P2 X 7 receptor was originally described in cells of hematopoietic origin, and mediates the influx of C a 2 + and N a + and C a 2 + and N a + ions as well as the release of proinflammatory cytokines. P2 X 7 receptors may affect neuronal cell death through their ability to regulate the processing and release of interleukin-1 𝛽 , a key mediator in neurodegeneration, chronic inflammation, and chronic pain. Activation of P2 X 7 , a key mediator in neurodegeneration, chronic inflammation, and chronic pain. Activation of P2 X 7 receptors provides an inflammatory stimulus, and P2 X 7 receptor-deficient mice have substantially attenuated inflammatory responses, including models of neuropathic and chronic inflammatory pain. Moreover, P2 X 7 receptor activity, by regulating the release of proinflammatory cytokines, may be involved in the pathophysiology of depression. Apoptotic cell death occurs in a number of vascular diseases, including atherosclerosis, restenosis, and hypertension, and may be linked to the release of ATP from endothelial cells, P2 X 7 receptor activation, proinflammatory cytokine production, and endothelial cell apoptosis. In this context, the P2 X 7 receptor may be viewed as a gateway of communication between the nervous, immune, and cardiovascular systems.