ATP-gated P2X cation-channels

Neuropharmacology. 2009 Jan;56(1):208-15. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2008.06.067. Epub 2008 Jul 9.


P2X receptors are ATP-gated cation channels with important roles in diverse pathophysiological processes. Substantial progress has been made in the last few years with the discovery of both subunit selective antagonists and modulators. The purpose of this brief review is to summarize the advances in the pharmacology of P2X receptors, with key properties presented in an easy to access format. Ligand-gated ion channels consist of three families in mammals; the ionotropic glutamate receptors, the Cys-loop receptors (for GABA, ACh, glycine and serotonin) and the P2X receptors for ATP. The first two of these are considered in articles accompanying this Special Issue. Here we consider the pharmacological properties of P2X receptors. We do not present a detailed discussion of P2X receptor physiological roles or structure-function studies. Moreover, the pharmacological basis for discriminating between the main subtypes of P2X receptor and their nomenclature has been published by the Nomenclature Committee of the International Union of Pharmacology (NC-IUPHAR) P2X Receptor Subcommittee, and so these aspects are not revisited here. Instead in this brief article we seek to present a summary of the pharmacology of recombinant homomeric and heteromeric P2X receptors, with particular emphasis on new antagonists. In this article we have tried to present as much information as possible in two tables in the hope this will be useful as a day-to-day resource, and also because an excellent and detailed review has recently been published.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / chemistry
  • Adenosine Triphosphate / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Ion Channel Gating / drug effects*
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2 / classification
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2 / physiology*
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2X


  • Receptors, Purinergic P2
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2X
  • Adenosine Triphosphate