P2X7-like receptor activation in astrocytes increases chemokine monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 expression via mitogen-activated protein kinase

William Panenka, Humberto Jijon, Leonie M. Herx, John N. Armstrong, Denise Feighan, Tao Wei, V. Wee Yong, Richard M. Ransohoff, Brian A. MacVicar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

189 Scopus citations


Leukocyte infiltration in the CNS after trauma or inflammation is triggered in part by upregulation of the chemokine, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), in astrocytes. However the signals that induce the upregulation of MCP-1 in astrocytes are unknown. We have investigated the roles for ATP P2X7 receptor activation because ATP is an intercellular signaling transmitter that is released in both trauma and inflammation and P2X7 receptors are involved in immune system signaling. Astrocytes in primary cell culture and acutely isolated from the hippocampus were immunopositive for P2X7 receptors. In astrocyte cultures, application of the selective P2X7 agonist, benzoylbenzoyl ATP (Bz-ATP), activated MAP kinases extracellular signal receptor-activated kinase 1 (ERK1), ERK2, and p38. Purinergic antagonists depressed this activation with a profile suggesting P2X7 receptors. Bz-ATP also increased MCP-1 expression in cultured astrocytes, and again P2X7 antagonists prevented this increase. Blocking either the ERK1/ERK2 or the p38 pathway (with PD98059 or SB203580, respectively) significantly inhibited Bz-ATP-induced MCP-1 expression. Coapplication of both antagonists caused a greater depression. We also tested the roles for ATP receptor activation in inducing MCP-1 upregulation in corticectomy, an in vivo model of trauma. This model of cortical trauma was previously shown to increase MCP-1 expression in vivo principally in astrocytes. Suramin, a wide-spectrum purinergic receptor antagonist, significantly depressed the rapid (3 hr) trauma-induced increase in MCP-1 mRNA. These data indicate that purinergic transmitter receptors in astrocytes are important in regulating chemokine synthesis. The regulation of MCP-1 in astrocytes by ATP may be important in mediating communication with hematopoietic inflammatory cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7135-7142
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 15 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • ATP
  • Astrocyte
  • Bz-ATP
  • Chemokine
  • ERK1
  • ERK2
  • MAP kinase
  • MCP-1
  • P2X7
  • P2Z
  • Purinergic receptors
  • p38

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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