ATP as a presynaptic modulator

Life Sci. 2000 Dec 1;68(2):119-37. doi: 10.1016/s0024-3205(00)00923-1.


There is considerable evidence that ATP acts as a fast transmitter or co-transmitter in autonomic and sensory nerves mostly through activation of ionotropic P2X receptors but also through metabotropic P2Y receptors. By analogy, the observations that ATP is released from stimulated central nervous system (CNS) nerve terminals and that responses to exogenously added ATP can be recorded in central neurons, lead to the proposal that ATP might also be a fast transmitter in the CNS. However, in spite of the robust expression of P2 receptor mRNA and binding to P2 receptors in the CNS, the demonstration of central purinergic transmission has mostly remained elusive. We now review evidence to suggest that ATP may also act presynaptically rather than solely postsynaptically in the nervous system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / pharmacology
  • Adenosine Triphosphate / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / physiology
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Mice
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / pharmacology
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / physiology
  • Presynaptic Terminals / drug effects
  • Presynaptic Terminals / physiology*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Presynaptic / drug effects
  • Receptors, Presynaptic / genetics
  • Receptors, Presynaptic / physiology*


  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Presynaptic
  • Adenosine Triphosphate