About this Research Topic
Purines are ubiquitous molecules in all living beings. Aside from constituting the backbone of nucleic acids and being central molecules in cellular metabolism, purines can be released in an activity-dependent manner to mediate and modulate cell-to-cell communication. Extracellular purines are involved in multiple physiological processes of the central nervous system regulating sleep, learning, memory but also mood and emotional states. The mechanisms underlying purinergic control of behavior involve modulation of glial cells reactivity, synaptic transmission, and strength, neurogenesis and glial-neuron communication.
Emotional learning and memory are the most strongly imprinted, long-lasting forms of cognition. Moreover, mood-related disorders are increasingly prevalent in the world with significant socio-economic impact. Also, many neurodegenerative diseases including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases can present with mood alterations long before being diagnosed which then become increasingly difficult to manage as the disease progresses.
Purinergic signaling controls and integrates the activity of several neurotransmitter systems, including dopaminergic, serotonergic, GABAergic and glutamatergic systems which regulate positive and negative emotions involving multiple interacting neuronal circuits and brain regions, such as the prefrontal cortex, the ventral striatum, the hippocampus and the amygdala. The involvement of the purinergic system in neuropsychiatric conditions related to different forms of stress, anxiety, depression, and trauma has been established.
Recent works using genetic, chemogenetic, and optogenetic tools allowing spatio-temporal and cell-specific control of expression and activity of purinergic enzymes, transporters and receptors are helping to elucidate the mechanisms through which this system affects neuronal circuits controlling anxiety, fear, and depressive-like behavior as well as reward and motivation. Moreover, human studies including analysis of polymorphisms and advanced techniques of brain imaging allow for the evaluation of the involvement of the purinergic system in the development of mood disorders.
In this article collection, we aim to gather original, basic, preclinical and clinical studies (including human studies and meta-analyses) and review articles, that advance our knowledge of the mechanisms through which purinergic signaling controls neuronal circuits governing emotion and emotional learning and memory, in both physiological and pathological contexts. A better understanding of these mechanisms will pave the way to find novel pharmacological targets to balance mood and emotion in different neuropsychiatric conditions and to find new biochemical markers to aid in the diagnostic and prognostic of these disorders.
Keywords: Purines, ATP, Adenosine, P2R, P1R, mood
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