Reactive oxygen species play a role in P2X7 receptor-mediated IL-6 production in spinal astrocytes

Frances M. Munoz, Priya A. Patel, Xinghua Gao, Yixiao Mei, Jingsheng Xia, Sofia Gilels, Huijuan Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Astrocytes mediate a remarkable variety of cellular functions, including gliotransmitter release. Under pathological conditions, high concentrations of the purinergic receptor agonist adenosine triphosphate (ATP) are released into the extracellular space leading to the activation of the purinergic P2X7 receptor, which in turn can initiate signaling cascades. It is well-established that reactive oxygen species (ROS) increase in macrophages and microglia following P2X7 receptor activation. However, direct evidence that activation of P2X7 receptor leads to ROS production in astrocytes is lacking to date. While it is known that P2X7R activation induces cytokine production, the mechanism involved in this process is unclear. In the present study, we demonstrated that P2X7 receptor activation induced ROS production in spinal astrocytes in a concentration-dependent manner. We also found that P2X7R-mediated ROS production is at least partially through NADPH oxidase. In addition, our ELISA data show that P2X7R-induced IL-6 release was dependent on NADPH oxidase-mediated production of ROS. Collectively, these results reveal that activation of the P2X7 receptor on spinal astrocytes increases ROS production through NADPH oxidase, subsequently leading to IL-6 release. Our results reveal a role of ROS in the P2X7 signaling pathway in mouse spinal cord astrocytes and may indicate a potential mechanism for the astrocytic P2X7 receptor in chronic pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-107
Number of pages11
JournalPurinergic Signalling
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology


  • Astrocytes
  • Cytokine
  • NADPH oxidase
  • P2X7 receptor
  • Pain
  • ROS


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