Synaptic P2X7 and Oxygen/Glucose Deprivation in Organotypic Hippocampal Cultures

Fabio Cavaliere, Susanna Amadio, Giuseppe Sancesario, Giorgio Bernardi, Cinzia Volonté

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The P2X7 receptor for extracellular ATP is the main candidate, among P2 receptors, inducing cell death in the immune system. Here, we demonstrate the direct participation of this receptor to cell damage induced by oxygen/glucose deprivation, in the ex vivo model of organotypic hippocampal cultures. By pharmacological and immunological approaches, we show that P2X 7 is rapidly and transiently up regulated in hippocampal areas eliciting metabolism impairment. Moreover, the P2 antagonists 2′,3′,-dialdehyde ATP and reactive blue 2 prevent both up regulation of this receptor and hypoxic/hypoglycemic damage. By confocal laser microscopy, we show that P2X7 is present at the synaptic level of fibers extending from the CA1-2 pyramidal cell layer throughout the strata oriens and radiatum, but absent on oligodendrocytes, astrocytes or neuronal cell bodies. Colocalization of P2X7 is obtained with neurofilament-L protein and with synaptophysin, not with myelin basic protein, glial fibrillary acidic protein or a marker for neuronal nuclei. P2X7 up regulation and diffuse cellular damage are also induced by 3′-O-(4-benzoyl) benzoyl-ATP, an agonist selective but not exclusive for P2X7. In summary, our study demonstrates that P2X7 not only directly participates to the hypoxic/hypoglycemic process, but also owns specific phenotypic localization. We do not exclude that it might serve as a sensor of dysregulated neuronal activity and ATP release, both occurring during oxygen/glucose deprivation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)392-398
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2004


  • BzATP
  • Ischemia
  • Neurofilament
  • oxATP
  • P2 receptors
  • Synaptophysin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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