Sensory Nerves pp 333-392 | Cite as

Purines and Sensory Nerves

  • Geoffrey BurnstockEmail author
Part of the Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology book series (HEP, volume 194)


P2X and P2Y nucleotide receptors are described on sensory neurons and their peripheral and central terminals in dorsal root, nodose, trigeminal, petrosal, retinal and enteric ganglia. Peripheral terminals are activated by ATP released from local cells by mechanical deformation, hypoxia or various local agents in the carotid body, lung, gut, bladder, inner ear, eye, nasal organ, taste buds, skin, muscle and joints mediating reflex responses and nociception. Purinergic receptors on fibres in the dorsal spinal cord and brain stem are involved in reflex control of visceral and cardiovascular activity, as well as relaying nociceptive impulses to pain centres. Purinergic mechanisms are enhanced in inflammatory conditions and may be involved in migraine, pain, diseases of the special senses, bladder and gut, and the possibility that they are also implicated in arthritis, respiratory disorders and some central nervous system disorders is discussed. Finally, the development and evolution of purinergic sensory mechanisms are considered.


Bladder Brain stem Carotid body Ganglion, Gut 


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Autonomic Neuroscience CentreRoyal Free and University College Medical SchoolNW3 UK

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