Regulation of renal NaCl and water transport by the ATP/UTP/P2Y2 receptor system

Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2011 Sep;301(3):F463-75. doi: 10.1152/ajprenal.00236.2011. Epub 2011 Jun 29.


Extracellular nucleotides (e.g., ATP) activate ionotropic P2X and metabotropic P2Y receptors in the plasma membrane to regulate and maintain cell function and integrity. This includes the renal tubular and collecting duct system, where the locally released nucleotides act in a paracrine and autocrine way to regulate transport of electrolytes and water and maintain cell volume. A prominent role has been assigned to Gq-coupled P2Y(2) receptors, which are typically activated by both ATP and UTP. Studies in gene knockout mice revealed an antihypertensive activity of P2Y(2) receptors that is linked to vasodilation and an inhibitory influence on renal salt reabsorption. Flow induces apical ATP release in the thick ascending limb, and first evidence indicates an inhibitory influence of P2Y(2) receptor tone on the expression and activity of the Na-K-2Cl cotransporter NKCC2 in this segment. The apical ATP/UTP/P2Y(2) receptor system in the connecting tubule/cortical collecting duct mediates the inhibitory effect of dietary salt on the open probability of the epithelial sodium channel ENaC and inhibits ENaC activity during aldosterone escape. Connexin 30 has been implicated in the luminal release of the ATP involved in the regulation of ENaC. An increase in collecting duct cell volume in response to manipulating water homeostasis increases ATP release. The subsequent activation of P2Y(2) receptors inhibits vasopressin-induced cAMP formation and water reabsorption, which facilitates water excretion and stabilizes cell volume. Thus recent studies have established the ATP/UTP/P2Y(2) receptor system as a relevant regulator of renal salt and water homeostasis and blood pressure regulation. The pathophysiological relevance and therapeutic potential remains to be determined, but dual effects of P2Y(2) receptor activation on both the vasculature and renal salt reabsorption implicate these receptors as potential therapeutic targets in hypertension.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / physiology
  • Animals
  • Biological Transport / physiology
  • Kidney / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Models, Animal
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2Y2 / physiology
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Sodium Chloride / metabolism*
  • Uridine Triphosphate / physiology
  • Water / metabolism*


  • Receptors, Purinergic P2Y2
  • Water
  • Sodium Chloride
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Uridine Triphosphate