Purinergic receptors activating rapid intracellular Ca2+ increases in microglia

Alan R. Light, Ying Wu, Ronald W. Hughen, Peter B. Guthrie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


We provide both molecular and pharmacological evidence that the metabotropic, purinergic, P2Y6, P2Y12 and P2Y 13, receptors and the ionotropic P2X4 receptor contribute strongly to the rapid calcium response caused by ATP and its analogues in mouse microglia. Real-time PCR demonstrates that the most prevalent P2 receptor in microglia is P2Y6 followed, in order, by P2X4, P2Y 12, and P2X7 = P2Y13. Only very small quantities of mRNA for P2Y1, P2Y2, P2Y4, P2X14 P2X3, and P2X5. were found. Dose-response curves of the rapid calcium response gave a potency order of: 2MeSADP>ADP=UDP=IDP=UTP>ATP>BzATP, whereas A2P4 had little effect. Pertussis toxin partially blocked responses to 2MeSADP, ADP and UDP. The P2X4 antagonist suramin, but not PPADS, significantly blocked responses to ATP. These data indicate that P2Y6, P2Y12, P2Y13 and P2X receptors mediate much of the rapid calcium responses and shape changes in microglia to low concentrations of ATP, presumably at least partly because ATP is rapidly hydrolyzed to ADP. Expression of P2Y6, P2Y12 and P2Y13 receptors appears to be largely glial in the brain, so that peripheral immune cells and CNS microglia share these receptors. Thus, purinergic, metabotropic, P2Y6, P2Y12, P2Y13, and P2X4 receptors might share a role in the activation and recruitment of microglia in the brain and spinal cord by widely varying stimuli that cause the release of ATP, including infection, injury and degeneration in the CNS, and peripheral tissue injury and inflammation which is signaled via nerve signaling to the spinal cord.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-128
Number of pages4
JournalNeuron Glia Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • ATP receptors
  • Glial cells
  • Injury
  • Mouse
  • Pain
  • Purines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology


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