Morgan J, Alves M, Conte G, Menéndez-Méndez A, de Diego-Garcia L, de Leo G, Beamer E, Smith J, Nicke A, Engel T.
Mounting evidence suggests that the ATP-gated P2X7 receptor contributes to increased hyperexcitability in the brain. While increased expression of P2X7 in the hippocampus and cortex following status epilepticus and during epilepsy has been repeatedly demonstrated, the cell type-specific expression of P2X7 and its expression in extra-hippocampal brain structures remains incompletely explored. In this study, P2X7 expression was visualized by using a transgenic mouse model overexpressing P2X7 fused to the fluorescent protein EGFP. The results showed increased P2X7-EGFP expression after status epilepticus induced by intra-amygdala kainic acid and during epilepsy in different brain regions including the hippocampus, cortex, striatum, thalamus and cerebellum, and this was most evident in microglia and oligodendrocytes. Co-localization of P2X7-EGFP with cell type-specific markers was not detected in neurons or astrocytes. These data suggest that P2X7 activation is a common pathological hallmark across different brain structures, possibly contributing to brain inflammation and neurodegeneration following acute seizures and during epilepsy.