Cortical and subcortical distribution of ionotropic purinergic receptor subunit type 1 (P2X1R) immunoreactive neurons in the rat forebrain

F. Florenzano, P. Carrive, Maria Teresa Viscomi, F. Ferrari, L. Latini, D. Conversi, S. Cabib, C. Bagni, M. Molinari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Ionotropic purinergic receptors (P2XR) are ATP-gated cationic channels composed of seven known subunits (P2X1-7R) and involved in different functions in neural tissue. Although their presence has been demonstrated in the brain, few studies have investigated their expression pattern. In particular, ionotropic purinergic receptor subunit type 1 (P2X1R) has been observed in the cerebellum and in brainstem nuclei. The present study investigates the P2X1R expression pattern in the rat forebrain using immunohistochemistry. The specificity of the immunolabeling has been verified by Western blotting and in situ hybridization methods. P2X1R immunoreactivity was specifically localized in neurons, dendrites and axons throughout the forebrain. Characteristic differences in the distribution of P2X1R were observed in different cortical areas. In prefrontal, cingulate and perirhinal cortices, very intense labeling was present in neuronal bodies. In frontal, parietal, temporal and occipital cortices, immunostaining was lighter and mainly found in dendrites and axons. The hippocampal formation was intensely labeled. Labeling was present almost exclusively in dendrites and axons and never in neuronal bodies. The diencephalon was devoid of P2X1R positive neurons or fibers except for the medial habenular nucleus, which showed very intense P2X1R immunostaining. Furthermore, two subcortical regions, namely, the nucleus centralis of the amygdala and the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, showed intense P2X1R neuronal labeling. Present data indicate that P2X1R are prevalent in forebrain areas involved in the integration of cognitive, limbic and autonomic functions. © 2007 IBRO.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)791-801
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • Animals
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein
  • Male
  • Neurons
  • Phosphopyruvate Hydratase
  • Prosencephalon
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2
  • Receptors, Purinergic P2X
  • bed nucleus of stria terminalis
  • cingulate cortex
  • limbic cortex
  • nucleus centralis of the amygdala
  • prefrontal cortex


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