Extracellular ATP and nerve growth factor intensify hypoglycemia-induced cell death in primary neurons: Role of P2 and NGFRp75 receptors

Fabio Cavaliere, Giuseppe Sancesario, Giorgio Bernardi, Cinzia Volonté

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this study, we monitored the direct expression of P2 receptors for extracellular ATP in cerebellar granule neurons undergoing metabolism impairment. Glucose deprivation for 30-60 min inhibited P2Y1 receptor protein, only weakly modulated P2X1, P2X2 and P2X3, and up-regulated by about two-fold P2X4, P2X7 and P2Y4. The P2X/Y antagonist basilen blue, protecting cerebellar neurons from hypoglycemic cell death, maintained within basal levels only the expression of P2X7 and P2Y4 proteins, but not P2X4 or P2Y1. Glucose starvation transiently increased (up to three-fold) the expression of NGFRp75 receptor protein and strongly stimulated the extracellular release of nerve growth factor (NGF; about 10-fold). Exogenously added NGF then augmented hypoglycemic neuronal death by about 60%, increasing the percentage of Höechst-positive nuclei (from approximately 62 to 95%), reducing lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release (from about 50 to 14%) and significantly overstimulating the hypoglycemia-induced expression of P2X7 and P2Y4. Conversely, extracellular ATP augmented hypoglycemic neuronal death by about 80%, reducing the number of Höechst-positive nuclei (from approximately 62% to 14%), augmenting LDH outflow (by about 30%) and further increasing the hypoglycemia-induced expression of NGFRp75. Our results indicate that P2 and NGFRp75 receptors are modulated during glucose starvation and that extracellular ATP and NGF drive features of, respectively, necrotic and apoptotic hypoglycemic cell death, aggravating the consequences of metabolism impairment in cerebellar primary neurons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1129-1138
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neurochemistry
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2002


  • Apoptosis
  • Necrosis
  • NGF release
  • P2X
  • P2Y

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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