Renal Physiology

P2 receptors in the regulation of renal transport mechanisms

Volker Vallon


Extracellular nucleotides (e.g., ATP) regulate physiological and pathophysiological processes through activation of nucleotide P2 receptors in the plasma membrane. Examples include such diverse processes as communication from taste buds to gustatory nerves, platelet aggregation, nociception, or neutrophil chemotaxis. Over approximately the last 15 years, evidence has also accumulated that cells in renal epithelia release nucleotides in response to physiological stimuli and that these nucleotides act in a paracrine and autocrine way to activate P2 receptors and play a significant role in the regulation of transport mechanisms and cell volume regulation. This review discusses potential stimuli and mechanisms involved in nucleotide release in renal epithelia and summarizes the available data on the expression and function of nucleotide P2 receptors along the native mammalian tubular and collecting duct system. Using established agonist profiles for P2 receptor subtypes, significant insights have been gained particularly into a potential role for P2Y2-like receptors in the regulation of transport mechanisms in the collecting duct. Due to the lack of receptor subtype-specific antagonists, however, the in vivo relevance of P2 receptor subtypes is unclear. Studies in gene knockout mice provided first insights including an antihypertensive activity of P2Y2 receptors that is linked to an inhibitory influence on renal Na+ and water reabsorption. We are only beginning to unravel the important roles of extracellular nucleotides and P2 receptors in the regulation of the diverse transport mechanisms of the kidney.

  • kidney
  • ATP
  • UTP
  • vasopressin
  • aquaporin
  • collecting duct
  • volume regulation
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