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Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2013 Oct;19(11):2366-79. doi: 10.1097/MIB.0b013e31829ecf4d.

Purinergic autocrine regulation of mechanosensitivity and serotonin release in a human EC model: ATP-gated P2X3 channels in EC are downregulated in ulcerative colitis.

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  • 1Departments of *Anesthesiology and †Pathology, The Wexner Medical Center at The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio; ‡Center for Perinatal Research, §Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, Ohio; and ‖Departments of Surgery and **Neuroscience, The Wexner Medical Center at The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.



Alterations in 5-hydroxytryptamine (HT) signaling in inflamed gut may contribute to pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel diseases. Adenosine 5'-triphosphate (ATP) regulates mucosal-mechanosensory reflexes and ATP receptors are sensitive to mucosal inflammation. Yet, it remains unknown whether ATP can modulate 5-HT signaling in enterochromaffin cells (EC). We tested the novel purinergic hypothesis that ATP is a critical autocrine regulator of EC mechanosensitivity and whether EC expression of ATP-gated P2X3-ion channels is altered in inflammatory bowel diseases.


Laser confocal (fluo-4) Ca imaging was performed in 1947 BON cells. Chemical stimulation or mechanical stimulation (MS) was used to study 5-HT or ATP release in human BON or surgical mucosal specimens, and purine receptors by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, Western Blot, or P2X3-immunoreactivity in BON or 5-HT human EC (hEC) in 11 control and 10 severely inflamed ulcerative colitis (UC) cases.


ATP or MS triggered Ca-transients or 5-HT release in BON. ATP or adenosine diphosphate increased 5-HT release 5-fold. MS caused ATP release, detected after 5'ecto-ATPase inhibition by ARL67156. ARL67156 augmented and apyrase blocked Ca/5-HT mechanosensitive responses. 2-Methyl-thio-adenosine diphosphate 5'-monophosphate-evoked (P2Y1,12) or mechanically-evoked responses were blocked or augmented by a P2Y1,12 antagonist, MRS2179, in different cells or inhibited by U73122. A P2Y12 antagonist, 2MeSAMP, augmented responses. A P2X1,3 agonist, α,β-MeATP, triggered Ca responses, whereas a P2X1,2/3,3 antagonist, 2',3'-O-(2,4,6-trinitrophenyl)-ATP, blocked mechanical responses or cell-surface 5'ATP- labeling. In hEC, α,β-MeATP stimulated 5-HT release. In UC, P2X3-immunoreactivity decreased from 15% to 0.2% of 5-HThECs. Human mucosa and BON expressed P2X1, P2X3, P2X4, P2X5, P2Y1, P2Y2, P2Y4, P2Y6, P2Y11, and P2Y12R-messenger RNA transcripts.


ATP is a critical determinant of mechanosensation and 5-HT release via autocrine activation of slow P2Y1-phospholipase C/inositol-1,4,5-triphosphate-Ca or inhibitory P2Y12-purinergic pathways, and fast ATP-gated P2X3-channels. UC downregulation of P2X3-channels (or A2B) is postulated to mediate abnormal 5-HT signaling.

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