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Brain Res. 1994 Apr 4;641(2):249-56.

Activation of specific ATP receptors induces a rapid increase in intracellular calcium ions in rat hypothalamic neurons.

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Department of Medicine, University of Bristol, UK.


We have used real-time dynamic video imaging of Fura-2 fluorescence to study the acute effects of external ATP on [Ca2+]i in cultured rat hypothalamic neurons. The addition of ATP at microM concentrations, but not adenosine, AMP, ADP or GTP, produced a rapid, dose-dependent increase in cytosolic Ca2+. The hydrolysis-resistant ATP analogues 3-thio-ATP and beta,gamma-imido-ATP produced a similar response but alpha,beta-methylene ATP had much lower efficacy. The ATP response was inhibited by 10 microM nifedipine, abolished by 50 microM cadmium and by the absence of extracellular Ca2+, but was unaffected by ryanodine or omega-conotoxin GVIA. The P2-purinoceptor antagonist suramin reversibly and selectively inhibited the ATP response but had no effect on other neurotransmitter-induced Cai2+ responses. Antagonists to muscarinic, nicotinic, NMDA, non-NMDA, GABA, 5-HT and adenosine receptors had no effect on the ATP response. Thus the Ca2+ response of hypothalamic neurons to ATP is mediated by specific suramin-sensitive ATP-receptors, activation of which is independent of ATP hydrolysis and results in an influx of extracellular Ca2+ largely through high voltage-gated Ca2+ channels. These findings support the assertion that ATP acts in the CNS as an excitatory neurotransmitter.

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