BzATP Activates Satellite Glial Cells and Increases the Excitability of Dorsal Root Ganglia Neurons In Vivo

Zhiyong Chen, Chi Zhang, Xiaodan Song, Xiang Cui, Jing Liu, Neil C. Ford, Shaoqiu He, Guangwu Zhu, Xinzhong Dong, Menachem Hanani, Yun Guan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purinergic system plays an important role in pain transmission. Recent studies have suggested that activation of P2-purinergic receptors (P2Rs) may be involved in neuron-satellite glial cell (SGC) interactions in the dorsal root ganglia (DRG), but the details remain unclear. In DRG, P2X7R is selectively expressed in SGCs, which closely surround neurons, and is highly sensitive to 3’-O-(4-Benzoyl) benzoyl-ATP (BzATP). Using calcium imaging in intact mice to survey a large number of DRG neurons and SGCs, we examined how intra-ganglionic purinergic signaling initiated by BzATP affects neuronal activities in vivo. We developed GFAP-GCaMP6s and Pirt-GCaMP6s mice to express the genetically encoded calcium indicator GGCaM6s in SGCs and DRG neurons, respectively. The application of BzATP to the ganglion induced concentration-dependent activation of SGCs in GFAP-GCaMP6s mice. In Pirt-GCaMP6s mice, BzATP initially activated more large-size neurons than small-size ones. Both glial and neuronal responses to BzATP were blocked by A438079, a P2X7R-selective antagonist. Moreover, blockers to pannexin1 channels (probenecid) and P2X3R (A317491) also reduced the actions of BzATP, suggesting that P2X7R stimulation may induce the opening of pannexin1 channels, leading to paracrine ATP release, which could further excite neurons by acting on P2X3Rs. Importantly, BzATP increased the responses of small-size DRG neurons and wide-dynamic range spinal neurons to subsequent peripheral stimuli. Our findings suggest that intra-ganglionic purinergic signaling initiated by P2X7R activation could trigger SGC-neuron interaction in vivo and increase DRG neuron excitability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2280
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • calcium imaging
  • dorsal root ganglion
  • mice
  • pain
  • purinergic receptor
  • satellite glial cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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