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J Biol Chem. 2003 Apr 11;278(15):13309-17. Epub 2003 Jan 27.

P2X7 mediates superoxide production in primary microglia and is up-regulated in a transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer's disease.

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Neuroscience Drug Discovery, Pharmaceutical Research Institute, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., Wallingford, Connecticut 06492, USA.


Primary rat microglia stimulated with either ATP or 2'- and 3'-O-(4-benzoylbenzoyl)-ATP (BzATP) release copious amounts of superoxide (O(2)(-)*). ATP and BzATP stimulate O(2)(-)* production through purinergic receptors, primarily the P2X(7) receptor. O(2)(-)* is produced through the activation of the NADPH oxidase. Although both p42/44 MAPK and p38 MAPK were activated rapidly in cells stimulated with BzATP, only pharmacological inhibition of p38 MAPK attenuated O(2)(-)* production. Furthermore, an inhibitor of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase attenuated O(2)(-)* production to a greater extent than an inhibitor of p38 MAPK. Both ATP and BzATP stimulated microglia-induced cortical cell death indicating this pathway may contribute to neurodegeneration. Consistent with this hypothesis, P2X(7) receptor was specifically up-regulated around beta-amyloid plaques in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease (Tg2576).

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