The role of the purinergic P2X7 receptor in inflammation.
The inflammatory process, orchestrated against a variety of injurious stimuli, is composed of three inter-related phases; initiation, propagation and resolution. Understanding the interplay between these three phases and harnessing the beneficial properties of inflammation whilst preventing its damaging effects, will undoubtedly lead to the advent of much needed therapies, particularly in chronic disease states. The P2X7 receptor (P2X7R) is increasingly recognised as an important cell surface regulator of several key inflammatory molecules including IL-1beta, IL-18, TNF-alpha and IL-6. Moreover, as P2X7R-dependent cytokine production is driven by activating the inflammasome, antagonists of this receptor are likely to have therapeutic potential as novel anti-inflammatory therapies. The function of the P2X7R in inflammation, immunity and its potential role in disease will be reviewed and discussed. PMID:17367517 PMCID: PMC1838907