P2Y2 purinergic receptor gene deletion protects mice from bacterial endotoxin and sepsis-associated liver injury and mortality

Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2023 Nov 1;325(5):G471-G491. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.00090.2023. Epub 2023 Sep 12.


The liver plays a significant role in regulating a wide range of metabolic, homeostatic, and host-defense functions. However, the impact of liver injury on the host's ability to control bacteremia and morbidity in sepsis is not well understood. Leukocyte recruitment and activation lead to cytokine and chemokine release, which, in turn, trigger hepatocellular injury and elevate nucleotide levels in the extracellular milieu. P2Y2 purinergic receptors, G protein-coupled and activated by extracellular ATP/UTP, are expressed at the cell surface of hepatocytes and nonparenchymal cells. We sought to determine whether P2Y2 purinergic receptor function is necessary for the maladaptive host response to bacterial infection and endotoxin-mediated inflammatory liver injury and mortality in mice. We report that P2Y2 purinergic receptor knockout mice (P2Y2-/-) had attenuated inflammation and liver injury, with improved survival in response to LPS/galactosamine (LPS/GalN; inflammatory liver injury) and cecal ligation and puncture (CLP; polymicrobial sepsis). P2Y2-/- livers had attenuated c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase activation, matrix metallopeptidase-9 expression, and hepatocyte apoptosis in response to LPS/GalN and attenuated inducible nitric oxide synthase and nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain, leucine-rich repeat and pyrin domain containing 3 protein expression in response to CLP. Implicating liver injury in the disruption of amino acid homeostasis, CLP led to lower serum arginine and higher bacterial load and morbidity in the WT mice, whereas serum arginine levels were comparable to sham-operated controls in P2Y2-/- mice, which had attenuated bacteremia and improved survival. Collectively, our studies highlight the pathophysiological relevance of P2Y2 purinergic receptor function in inflammatory liver injury and dysregulation of systemic amino acid homeostasis with implications for sepsis-associated immune dysfunction and morbidity in mice.NEW & NOTEWORTHY Our studies provide experimental evidence for P2Y2 purinergic receptor-mediated potentiation of inflammatory liver injury, morbidity, and mortality, in two well-established animal models of inflammatory liver injury. Our findings highlight the potential to target P2Y2 purinergic signaling to attenuate the induction of "cytokine storm" and prevent its deleterious consequences on liver function, systemic amino acid homeostasis, host response to bacterial infection, and sepsis-associated morbidity and mortality.

Keywords: P2Y2 purinergic receptor; bacteremia; inflammation; liver injury; sepsis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids
  • Animals
  • Arginine
  • Bacteremia* / complications
  • Bacteremia* / genetics
  • Bacterial Infections*
  • Cytokines / genetics
  • Gene Deletion
  • Lipopolysaccharides / pharmacology
  • Liver
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Nucleotides
  • Receptors, Purinergic
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2Y2 / genetics
  • Sepsis*


  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Cytokines
  • Nucleotides
  • Arginine
  • Receptors, Purinergic
  • Amino Acids
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2Y2