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Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2001 Apr;22(4):182-8.

Purine-mediated signalling in pain and visceral perception.

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Autonomic Neuroscience Institute, Royal Free and University College Medical School, Rowland Hill Street, NW3 2PF, London, UK.


Receptor subtypes for purines have been identified in a variety of tissues, increasing interest in the roles of purine-mediated signalling in pathophysiological processes. Growing evidence supports the involvement of one of the purinoceptor subtypes, P2X3, in nociception. In this article, recent studies of purine-mediated nociception and visceral pain will be discussed. Furthermore, a novel hypothesis is proposed for purine-mediated mechanosensory transduction where ATP released during distension from epithelial cells lining tubes (such as ureter and gut) and sacs (such as the bladder) acts on P2X3 receptors on a subepithelial nerve plexus to initiate impulses that are relayed via the spinal cord to pain centres in the brain.

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