eATP/P2X7R axis: an orchestrated pathway triggering inflammasome activation in muscle diseases


  • C. Panicucci
  • L. Raffaghello
  • S. Bruzzone
  • S. Baratto
  • E. Principi
  • C. Minetti
  • E. Gazzerro
  • C. Bruno


  • International Journal of Molecular Sciences


  • Int J Mol Sci 21 (17): 5963


  • In muscle ATP is primarily known for its function as an energy source and as a mediator of the “excitation-transcription” process, which guarantees muscle plasticity in response to environmental stimuli. When quickly released in massive concentrations in the extracellular space as in presence of muscle membrane damage, ATP acts as a damage-associated molecular pattern molecule (DAMP). In experimental murine models of muscular dystrophies characterized by membrane instability, blockade of eATP/P2X7 receptor (R) purinergic signaling delayed the progression of the dystrophic phenotype dampening the local inflammatory response and inducing Foxp3(+) T Regulatory lymphocytes. These discoveries highlighted the relevance of ATP as a harbinger of immune-tissue damage in muscular genetic diseases. Given the interactions between the immune system and muscle regeneration, the comprehension of ATP/purinerigic pathway articulated organization in muscle cells has become of extreme interest. This review explores ATP release, metabolism, feedback control and cross-talk with members of muscle inflammasome in the context of muscular dystrophies.