Evidence that P2X purinoceptors mediate the excitatory effects of alphabetamethylene-ADP in rat locus coeruleus neurones

Neuropharmacology. 1998 Jul;37(7):875-85. doi: 10.1016/s0028-3908(98)00095-1.


Extracellular and whole-cell patch clamp recordings were used to study the excitatory responses elicited by purine nucleotides in pontine slices of the rat brain containing the locus coeruleus (LC). The P2 purinoceptor agonists, alphabeta-methyleneadenosine 5'-triphosphate (alphabetameATP) and adenosine 5'-O-(2-thiodiphosphate) (ADPalphabetaS), and a novel purinoceptor agonist, alphabeta-methyleneadenosine 5'-diphosphate (alphabetameADP), elicited concentration-dependent increases in the spontaneous firing rate over the concentration range (1-300 microM). On vagus nerve or dorsal root preparations alphabetameADP (100 microM) had no agonist activity. In the presence of both alphabetameATP (300 microM), ADPbetaS (300 microM) elicited a further and significant increase in the firing rate of the LC neurones, whilst neither alphabetameATP nor alphabetameADP (300 microM) elicited a further response. The P2 purinoceptor antagonists, suramin (100 microM) and pyridoxalphosphate-6-azophenyl-2',4'-disulphonic acid (PPADS; 30 microM), markedly attenuated responses to all three agonists. Whole-cell recording of membrane current showed that, at - 60 mV, alphabetameATP and alphabetameADP (both 100 microM) elicited inward currents of a similar magnitude, whilst the inward currents elicited by a lower concentration of ADPbetaS (30 microM) were larger and faded in the presence of this agonist. In the presence of tetrodotoxin and a combination of other neurotransmission blockers, both alphabetameATP and alphabetameADP still produced inward currents. Based on the known selectivity of the agonists used in this study, there appear to be two distinct P2 purinoceptor types present on neurones in the LC, which correspond to the P2X and P2Y types. The responses elicited by alphabetameADP appear to be mediated through a putative P2X purinoceptor, although further work is required to determine which P2X receptor subtype(s) are involved.

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Diphosphate / analogs & derivatives*
  • Adenosine Diphosphate / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Locus Coeruleus / physiology*
  • Male
  • Membrane Potentials / drug effects
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Purinergic P2 Receptor Agonists
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2 / drug effects
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2 / physiology*
  • Spinal Nerve Roots / drug effects
  • Spinal Nerve Roots / physiology
  • Thionucleotides / pharmacology
  • Vagus Nerve / drug effects
  • Vagus Nerve / physiology


  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Purinergic P2 Receptor Agonists
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2
  • Thionucleotides
  • alpha,beta-methyleneadenosine 5'-diphosphate
  • adenosine 5'-O-(2-thiodiphosphate)
  • Adenosine Diphosphate