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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Pharmacol. | doi: 10.3389/fphar.2019.01103

The ionotropic P2X4 receptor has unique properties in the heart by mediating the negative chronotropic effect of ATP while increasing the ventricular inotropy

  • 1Department of Immuno-Physiology and Pharmacology, Abel Salazar Institute of Biomedical Sciences, University of Porto, Portugal

Background: Mounting evidence indicate that reducing the sinoatrial node (SAN) activity may be a useful therapeutic strategy to control of heart failure. Purines, like ATP and its metabolite adenosine, consistently reduce the SAN spontaneous activity leading to negative cardiac chronotropy, with variable effects on the force of myocardial contraction (inotropy). Apart from adenosine A1 receptors, the human SAN expresses high levels of ATP-sensitive ionotropic P2X4 receptors (P2X4R), yet their cardiac role is unexplored.
Methods: Here, we investigated the activity of P2 purinoceptors on isolated spontaneously beating atria (chronotropy) and on 2 Hz-paced right ventricular (RV, inotropy) strips from Wistar rats.
Results: ATP (pEC50=4.05) and its stable analogue ATPγS (pEC50=4.69) concentration-dependently reduced atrial chronotropy. Inhibition of ATP breakdown into adenosine by NTPDases with POM-1 failed to modify ATP-induced negative chronotropy. The effect of ATP on atrial rate was attenuated by a broad-spectrum P2 antagonist, PPADS, as well as by 5-BDBD, which selectively blocks the P2X4R subtype; however, no effect was observed upon blocking the A1 receptor with DPCPX. The P2X4R positive allosteric modulator, ivermectin, increased the negative chronotropic response of ATP. Likewise, CTP, a P2X agonist that does not generate adenosine, replicated the P2X4R-mediated negative chronotropism of ATP. Inhibition of the Na+/Ca2+ exchanger (NCX) with KB-R7943 and ORM-10103, but not blockage of the HCN channel with ZD7288, mimicked the effect of the P2X4R blocker, 5-BDBD. In paced RV strips, ATP caused a mild negative inotropic effect, which magnitude was 2 to 3-fold increased by 5-BDBD and KB-R7943. Immunofluorescence confocal microscopy studies confirm that cardiomyocytes of the rat SAN and RV co-express P2X4R and NCX1 proteins.
Conclusions: Data suggest that activation of ATP-sensitive P2X4R slows down heart rate by reducing the SAN activity while increasing the magnitude of ventricular contractions. The mechanism underlying the dual effect of ATP in the heart may involve inhibition of intracellular Ca2+-extrusion by bolstering NCX function in the reverse mode. Thus, targeting the P2X4R activation may create novel well-tolerated heart-rate lowering drugs with potential benefits in patients with deteriorated ventricular function.

Keywords: ATP, P2X4 receptor, Na+/Ca2+ exchanger, sinoartrial node, spontaneously beating atria, paced right ventricle

Received: 03 Jul 2019; Accepted: 28 Aug 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Bragança, Nogueira-Marques, Ferreirinha, Fontes-Sousa and Correia-de-Sá. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Paulo Correia-de-Sá, Department of Immuno-Physiology and Pharmacology, Abel Salazar Institute of Biomedical Sciences, University of Porto, Porto, 4050-343, Porto, Portugal,