Progress in understanding of inhibitory purinergic neuromuscular transmission in the gut

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Abstract

Recent studies with genetic deletion of P2Y1 receptor (P2Y1−/−) have clinched its role in enteric purinergic inhibitory neurotransmission and suggested that β-NAD may be the purinergic inhibitory neurotransmitter in the colon. In this issue of the Journal, Gil and colleagues extend their earlier observations to the cecum and gastric antrum, showing that P2Y1 receptor mediated purinergic inhibition may be a general phenomenon in the gut. However, the authors made an unexpected observation in contrast with their earlier findings in the colon that neither the selective P2Y1 receptor antagonist MRS2500, nor P2Y1 receptor deletion, blocked the hyperpolarizing action of β-NAD in the cecum. These observations suggest that β-NAD may be the purinergic inhibitory neurotransmitter in the colon, but not in the cecum. This group had previously reported that the selective P2Y1 receptor antagonist MRS 2179 suppressed the hyperpolarizing action of ATP or ADP. Further studies are now needed to determine whether the hyperpolarizing actions of ATP and ADP are suppressed by the more potent P2Y1 antagonist MRS2500, and in P2Y1−/− mutants to test the intriguing possibility that different purines serve as purinergic inhibitory neurotransmitters in the colon and cecum and perhaps in different parts of the gut. Studies in P2Y1−/− mice will resolve other issues in purinergic neurotransmission including cellular localization of the β-NAD or ATP-activated P2Y1 receptors on either smooth muscle cells or PDGFRα+ fibroblast-like cells, relationship of purinergic to nitrergic neurotransmission and understanding the physiological and clinical importance of purinergic transmission in gastrointestinal motility and its disorders.

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