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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 7852168, 5 pages
Review Article

Manipulation of P2X Receptor Activities by Light Stimulation

Department of Pharmacy, Hanyang University, ERICA Campus, 55 Hanyangdaehak-ro, Sangnok-gu, Ansan, Gyeonggi-do 426-791, Republic of Korea

Received 30 October 2015; Revised 16 December 2015; Accepted 22 December 2015

Academic Editor: Mauricio Retamal

Copyright © 2016 Sang Seong Kim. 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 involved in amplification of inflammatory responses in peripheral nociceptive fibers and in mediating pain-related signals to the CNS. Control of P2X activation has significant importance in managing unwanted hypersensitive neuron responses. To overcome the limitations of chemical ligand treatment, optical stimulation methods of optogenetics and photoswitching achieve efficient control of P2X activation while allowing specificity at the target site and convenient stimulation by light illumination. There are many potential applications for photosensitive elements, such as improved uncaging methods, photoisomerizable ligands, photoswitches, and gold nanoparticles. Each technique has both advantages and downsides, and techniques are selected according to the purpose of the application. Technical advances not only provide novel approaches to manage inflammation or pain mediated by P2X receptors but also suggest a similar approach for controlling other ion channels.