Copyright ©The Author(s) 2016. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Dermatol. May 2, 2016; 5(2): 72-83
Published online May 2, 2016. doi: 10.5314/wjd.v5.i2.72
P2X7 receptor in skin biology and diseases
Nicholas J Geraghty, Debbie Watson, Sam R Adhikary, Ronald Sluyter
Nicholas J Geraghty, Debbie Watson, Sam R Adhikary, Ronald Sluyter, School of Biological Sciences, University of Wollongong, Wollongong NSW 2252, Australia
Nicholas J Geraghty, Debbie Watson, Sam R Adhikary, Ronald Sluyter, Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute, Wollongong NSW 2252, Australia
Author contributions: All the authors contributed to the paper.
Conflict-of-interest statement: The authors declare no conflicts of interest regarding this manuscript.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article which was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:
Correspondence to: Ronald Sluyter, PhD, Associate Professor, School of Biological Sciences, University of Wollongong, Northfields Avenue, Wollongong NSW 2522, Australia.
Telephone: +61-2-42215508 Fax: +61-2-42218130
Received: September 9, 2015
Peer-review started: September 10, 2015
First decision: November 7, 2015
Revised: November 23, 2015
Accepted: January 27, 2016
Article in press: January 29, 2016
Published online: May 2, 2016

The P2X7 receptor is a trimeric ligand-gated cation channel present on immune and other cells. Activation of this receptor by its natural ligand extracellular adenosine triphosphate results in a variety of downstream responses, including the release of pro-inflammatory mediators and cell death. In normal skin, P2X7 is present on keratinocytes, Langerhans cells and fibroblasts, while the presence of this receptor on other cutaneous cells is mainly inferred from studies of equivalent cell types present in other tissues. Mast cells in normal skin however express negligible amounts of P2X7, which can be upregulated in cutaneous disease. This review discusses the potential significance of P2X7 in skin biology, and the role of this receptor in inflammatory skin disorders such as irritant and chronic dermatitis, psoriasis, graft-versus-host disease, as well is in wound healing, transplantation and skin cancer.

Keywords: P2X7 receptor, Purinergic receptor, Extracellular adenosine triphosphate, CD39, Skin biology, Skin immune system

Core tip: The P2X7 receptor is present on immune, stromal and epithelial cells. Activation of this receptor by its natural ligand, extracellular adenosine triphosphate, causes a variety of downstream effects including release of inflammatory mediators and growth factors, as well as cell death. P2X7 has various functions on skin cells, and studies of mouse models of disease and of human cells and tissues highlight emerging roles for this receptor in common skin disorders.