Purinergic Signalling

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 15–29 | Cite as

ATP induces the death of developing avian retinal neurons in culture via activation of P2X7 and glutamate receptors

  • Roxana Mamani Anccasi
  • Isis Moraes Ornelas
  • Marcelo Cossenza
  • Pedro Muanis Persechini
  • Ana Lucia Marques Ventura
Original Article


Previous data suggest that nucleotides are important mitogens in the developing retina. Here, the effect of ATP on the death of cultured chick embryo retina cells was investigated. In cultures obtained from retinas of 7-day-old chick embryos (E7) that were cultivated for 2 days (E7C2), both ATP and BzATP induced a ∼30 % decrease in cell viability that was time- and dose-dependent and that could be blocked by 0.2 mM oxidized ATP or 0.3 μM KN-62. An increase in cleaved caspase-3 levels and in the number of TUNEL-positive cells was observed when cultures were incubated with 3 mM ATP and immunolabeling for cleaved-caspase 3 was observed over neurons but not over glial cells. ATP-dependent cell death was developmentally regulated, the maximal levels being detected by E7C2-3. Nucleotides were able to increase neuronal ethidium bromide and sulforhodamine B uptake in mixed and purified neuronal cultures, an effect that was blocked by the antagonists Brilliant Blue G and oxidized ATP. In contrast, nucleotide-induced cell death was observed only in mixed cultures, but not in purified cultures of neurons or glia. ATP-induced neuronal death was blocked by the glutamatergic antagonists MK801 and DNQX and activation of P2X7 receptors by ATP decreased the uptake of [3H]-d-aspartate by cultured glial cells with a concomitant accumulation of it in the extracellular medium. These results suggest that ATP induces apoptosis of chick embryo retinal neurons in culture through activation of P2X7 and glutamate ionotropic receptors. Involvement of a P2X7 receptor-mediated inhibition of the glial uptake of glutamate is suggested.


P2X7 receptor Apoptosis Retinal neurons Glutamate uptake Glutamate receptors 



We would like to thank Maria Leite Eduardo and Sarah A. Rodrigues for technical assistance. This work was supported by the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq), Fundação Carlos Chagas Filho de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (FAPERJ), Programa de Núcleos de Excelência (PRONEX-CNPq), POM/IOC (Fiocruz), Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal do Ensino Superior (CAPES), Pró-reitoria de Pesquisa, Pós-graduação e Inovação (Proppi-UFF) and Instituto Nacional para Pesquisa Translacional em Saúde e Ambiente na Região Amazônica, Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico/MCT (INCT-INPeTAm/CNPq/MCT), Brazil. Roxana M. Anccasi is the recipient of a fellowship from CAPES/CNPq-Brazil.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roxana Mamani Anccasi
    • 1
  • Isis Moraes Ornelas
    • 1
  • Marcelo Cossenza
    • 2
  • Pedro Muanis Persechini
    • 3
    • 4
  • Ana Lucia Marques Ventura
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Neurobiology, Neuroscience Program, Institute of BiologyFluminense Federal UniversityNiteróiBrazil
  2. 2.Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Neuroscience Program, Biomedical InstituteFluminense Federal UniversityNiteróiBrazil
  3. 3.Laboratory of Immunobiophysics, Carlos Chagas Filho Biophysics Institute (IBCCF)Federal University of Rio de JaneiroRio de JaneiroBrazil
  4. 4.National Institute of Science and Technology for Translational Research in Health and Environment in the Amazon Region (INPeTAm)National Research CouncilSão PauloBrazil

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