Allergic sensitization increases the amount of extracellular ATP hydrolyzed by guinea pig leukocytes.


Departamento de Investigación en Hiperreactividad Bronquial, Instituto Nacional de Enfermedades Respiratorias Ismael Cosío Villegas, Calzada de Tlalpan 4502, 14080, Mexico City, Mexico. [Email]


Increased levels of ATP have been found in the bronchoalveolar lavage of patients with asthma, and subjects with this disease, but not healthy subjects, develop bronchospasm after nebulization with ATP. Because the main mechanism for controlling the noxious effects of extracellular ATP is its enzymatic hydrolysis, we hypothesized that allergic sensitization is accompanied by a decreased functioning of such hydrolysis. In the present study, peripheral blood leukocytes from sensitized and non-sensitized guinea pigs were used for determining the extracellular metabolism (as assessed by inorganic phosphate production) of ATP, ADP, AMP, or adenosine, and for detecting possible changes in the expression (qPCR and Western blot) of major ectonucleotidases (NTPDase1, NTPDase3, and NPP1) and purinoceptors (P2X1, P2X7, P2Y4, and P2Y6). Contrary to our hypothesis, we found that leukocytes from allergic animals produced higher amounts of inorganic phosphate after stimulation with ATP and ADP, as compared with leukocytes from non-sensitized animals. Although at first glance, this result suggested that sensitization caused higher efficiency of ectonucleotidases, their mRNA and protein expressions were unaffected. On the other hand, after sensitization, we found a significant increase in the protein expression of P2X7 and P2Y4, two purinoceptors known to be responsible for ATP release after activation. We concluded that allergic sensitization increased the amount of ATP hydrolyzed by ectonucleotidases, the latter probably not due to the enhanced efficiency of its enzymatic breakdown, but rather due to an increased release of endogenous ATP or other nucleotides, partly mediated by enhanced expression or P2X7 and P2Y4 receptors.


ATP hydrolysis,Allergic sensitization,Ectonucleotidase,Extracellular ATP,Guinea pig asthma model,Purinoceptors,