Purinergic signalling appears to play important roles in neurodegeneration, neuroprotection and neuroregeneration. Initially there is a brief summary of the background of purinergic signalling, including release of purines and pyrimidines from neural and non-neural cells and their ectoenzymatic degradation, and the current characterisation of P1 (adenosine), and P2X (ion channel) and P2Y (G protein-coupled) nucleotide receptor subtypes. There is also coverage of the localization and roles of purinoceptors in the healthy central nervous system. The focus is then on the roles of purinergic signalling in trauma, ischaemia, stroke and in neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Huntington's diseases, as well as multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Neuroprotective mechanisms involving purinergic signalling are considered and its involvement in neuroregeneration, including the role of adult neural stem/progenitor cells.
This article is part of the Special Issue entitled ‘Purines in Neurodegeneration and Neuroregeneration’.