Adenine nucleotides, ADP and ATP, are coreleased from dense granules during platelet activation, as well as from endothelial cells and damaged red blood cells following vascular injury. Through autocrine and paracrine mechanisms, these extracellular signaling molecules interact with the platelet P2 receptors to amplify ongoing platelet activation. Two receptors for ADP, the Gq-protein-coupled P2Y1 and Gi-protein-coupled P2Y12 and one receptor for ATP, the P2X1 ion channel, have been identified on platelets. Due to distinct pharmacological properties and differential regulation, the P2Y and P2X receptors essentially operate on different scales of time and distance and trigger selective intracellular signaling cascades. Recent advances in the understanding of the P2Y receptor physiology have reinforced the concept of these receptors as useful targets for antithrombotic therapy. The function of P2X1 in platelet activation only recently started to be unraveled. This review focuses on recent findings on the physiology of these platelet ADP and ATP receptors, their distinct downstream intracellular signaling pathways as well as on the available agonists, antagonists and inhibitors that allow their pharmacological discrimination.
Keywords: Hemostasis, thrombosis, adenine nucleotides, P2Y1, P2Y12, P2X1, antithrombotic therapy
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