Intrarenal purinergic signaling in the control of renal tubular transport

Annu Rev Physiol. 2010;72:377-93. doi: 10.1146/annurev-physiol-021909-135825.


Renal tubular epithelial cells receive hormonal input that regulates volume and electrolyte homeostasis. In addition, numerous intrarenal, local signaling agonists have appeared on the stage of renal physiology. One such system is that of intrarenal purinergic signaling. This system involves all the elements necessary for agonist-mediated intercellular communication. ATP is released from epithelial cells, which activates P2 receptors in the apical and basolateral membrane and thereby modulates tubular transport. Termination of the signal is conducted via the breakdown of ATP to adenosine. Recent far-reaching advances indicate that ATP is often used as a local transmitter for classical sensory transduction. This transmission apparently also applies to sensory functions in the kidney. Locally released ATP is involved in sensing of renal tubular flow or in detecting the distal tubular load of NaCl at the macula densa. This review describes the relevant aspects of local, intrarenal purinergic signaling and outlines its integrative concepts.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Transport, Active / physiology
  • Epithelial Cells / physiology
  • Humans
  • Kidney Tubules / physiology*
  • Purines / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Purinergic / physiology*
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2 / physiology
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2X
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2Y2
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*


  • P2RY2 protein, human
  • Purines
  • Receptors, Purinergic
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2X
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2Y2