, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 223-232
Date: 11 Feb 2009

Physiological and pathological functions of P2X7 receptor in the spinal cord

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Abstract

ATP-mediated signaling has widespread actions in the nervous system from neurotransmission to regulation of proliferation. In addition, ATP is released during injury and associated to immune and inflammatory responses. Still, the potential of therapeutic intervention of purinergic signaling during pathological states is only now beginning to be explored because of the large number of purinergic receptors subtypes involved, the complex and often overlapping pharmacology and because ATP has effects on every major cell type present in the CNS. In this review, we will focus on a subclass of purinergic-ligand-gated ion channels, the P2X7 receptor, its pattern of expression and its function in the spinal cord where it is abundantly expressed. We will discuss the mechanisms for P2X7R actions and the potential that manipulating the P2X7R signaling pathway may have for therapeutic intervention in pathological events, specifically in the spinal cord.