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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2016, Article ID 1207393, 12 pages
Review Article

P2Y Receptors in Synaptic Transmission and Plasticity: Therapeutic Potential in Cognitive Dysfunction

1Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria), Am Campus 1, 3400 Klosterneuburg, Austria
2Institute of Neurophysiology, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Charitéplatz 1, 10117 Berlin, Germany

Received 30 November 2015; Accepted 10 February 2016

Academic Editor: Francisco Ciruela

Copyright © 2016 Segundo J. Guzman and Zoltan Gerevich. 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.


ATP released from neurons and astrocytes during neuronal activity or under pathophysiological circumstances is able to influence information flow in neuronal circuits by activation of ionotropic P2X and metabotropic P2Y receptors and subsequent modulation of cellular excitability, synaptic strength, and plasticity. In the present paper we review cellular and network effects of P2Y receptors in the brain. We show that P2Y receptors inhibit the release of neurotransmitters, modulate voltage- and ligand-gated ion channels, and differentially influence the induction of synaptic plasticity in the prefrontal cortex, hippocampus, and cerebellum. The findings discussed here may explain how P2Y1 receptor activation during brain injury, hypoxia, inflammation, schizophrenia, or Alzheimer’s disease leads to an impairment of cognitive processes. Hence, it is suggested that the blockade of P2Y1 receptors may have therapeutic potential against cognitive disturbances in these states.