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Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2010 Jul;299(1):G32-42. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.00282.2009. Epub 2010 Feb 25.

Amplification loop of the inflammatory process is induced by P2X7R activation in intestinal epithelial cells in response to neutrophil transepithelial migration.

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  • 1Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM) ERI-21/EA 4319, 06107 Nice, Cedex 01, France.


Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) are characterized during their active phase by polymorphonuclear leukocyte (PMNL) transepithelial migration. The efflux of PMNL into the mucosa is associated with the production of proinflammatory cytokines and the release of ATP from damaged and necrotic cells. The expression and function of purinergic P2X(7) receptor (P2X(7)R) in intestinal epithelial cells (IEC) and its potential role in the "cross talk" between IEC and PMNL have not been explored. The aims of the present study were 1) to examine P2X(7)R expression in IEC (T84 cells) and in human intestinal biopsies; 2) to detect any changes in P2X(7)R expression in T84 cells during PMNL transepithelial migration, and during the active and quiescent phases of IBD; and 3) to test whether P2X(7)R stimulation in T84 monolayers can induce caspase-1 activation and IL-1beta release by IEC. We found that a functional ATP-sensitive P2X(7)R is constitutively expressed at the apical surface of IEC T84 cells. PMNL transmigration regulates dynamically P2X(7)R expression and alters its distribution from the apical to basolateral surface of IEC during the early phase of PMNL transepithelial migration in vitro. P2X(7)R expression was weak in intestinal biopsies obtained during the active phase of IBD. We show that activation of epithelial P2X(7)R is mandatory for PMNL-induced caspase-1 activation and IL-1beta release by IEC. Overall, these changes in P2X(7)R function may serve to tailor the intensity of the inflammatory response and to prevent IL-1beta overproduction and inflammatory disease.

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