1. Apparent species differences in the responses of recombinant P2X(7) receptors to repeated application of 2'- and 3'-O-(4-benzoylbenzoyl)-ATP (BzATP) have been investigated. 2. Repeated application of 100 microM BzATP resulted in a progressive increase in current magnitude (current growth) at mouse and human, but not rat P2X(7) receptors. 3. Current growth was thought to reflect progressive dilation of the P2X(7) ion-channel to a pore permeable to large molecules (MW<900), suggesting that channel dilation was not occurring at the rat P2X(7) receptor. However, 100 microM BzATP produced a rapid influx of YO-PRO-1 (MW375) in cells expressing rat or human P2X(7) receptors. 4. There were, however, species differences in agonist potency such that 100 microM BzATP was a supra-maximal concentration at rat, but not human or mouse, P2X(7) receptors. Importantly, when sub-maximal concentrations of BzATP or ATP were examined, current growth occurred at rat P2X(7) receptors. 5. The rate of current growth and YO-PRO-1 accumulation increased with agonist concentration and appeared more rapid at rat and human, than at mouse P2X(7) receptors. 6. The potency of BzATP and ATP was 1.5 - 10 fold lower in naïve cells than in cells repeatedly exposed to ATP. 7. This study demonstrates that current growth occurs at mouse, rat and human P2X(7) receptors but only when using sub-maximal concentrations of agonist. Previously, current growth was thought to reflect the progressive increase in pore diameter of the P2X(7) receptor ion channel, however, the results of this study suggest a progressive increase in agonist potency may also contribute.