Purinergic Signalling

, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 233–240 | Cite as

Different properties of P2X7 receptor in hippocampal and cortical astrocytes

  • Fabio Bianco
  • Alessio Colombo
  • Laura Saglietti
  • Davide Lecca
  • Maria Pia Abbracchio
  • Michela Matteoli
  • Claudia Verderio
Original Article


P2X7 receptor is a ligand-gated ion channel, which can induce the opening of large membrane pores. Here, we provide evidence that the receptor induces pore formation in astrocytes cultured from cortex, but not from the hippocampus. Furthermore, P2X7 receptor activation promptly induces p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) phosphorylation in cortical but not in hippocampal astrocytes. Given the role of p38 MAPK activation in pore opening, these data suggest that defective coupling of the receptor to the enzyme could occur in hippocampal cultures. The different capabilities of the receptor to open membrane pores cause relevant functional consequences. Upon pore formation, caspase-1 is activated and pro-IL1-β is cleaved and released extracellularly. The receptor stimulation does not result in interleukin-1beta secretion from hippocampal astrocytes, although the pro-cytokine is present in the cytosol of lipopolysaccharide-primed cultures. These results open the possibility that activation of P2X7 receptors differently influences the neuroinflammatory processes in distinct brain regions.


P2X7 Hippocampus Cortex Astrocytes Pore formation IL-1β 



We thank Roberto Mele and Marta Fumagalli for their help in some experiments. This work was supported by FISM (2007/R35) to CV and CARIPLO 20060948 to MM.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fabio Bianco
    • 1
    • 4
  • Alessio Colombo
    • 1
  • Laura Saglietti
    • 1
  • Davide Lecca
    • 2
  • Maria Pia Abbracchio
    • 2
  • Michela Matteoli
    • 1
    • 3
  • Claudia Verderio
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Medical Pharmacology, CNR Institute of NeuroscienceUniversity of MilanMilanItaly
  2. 2.Department of Pharmacological Sciences, Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology of Purinergic TransmissionUniversity of MilanMilanItaly
  3. 3.Fondazione Don GnocchiMilanItaly
  4. 4.Neuro-Zone srlMilanItaly

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