The P2X1 receptor as a therapeutic target

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Within the family of purinergic receptors, the P2X1 receptor is a ligand-gated ion channel that plays a role in urogenital, immune and cardiovascular function. Specifically, the P2X1 receptor has been implicated in controlling smooth muscle contractions of the vas deferens and therefore has emerged as an exciting drug target for male contraception. In addition, the P2X1 receptor contributes to smooth muscle contractions of the bladder and is a target to treat bladder dysfunction. Finally, platelets and neutrophils have populations of P2X1 receptors that could be targeted for thrombosis and inflammatory conditions. Drugs that specifically target the P2X1 receptor have been challenging to develop, and only recently have small molecule antagonists of the P2X1 receptor been available. However, these ligands need further biological validation for appropriate selectivity and drug-like properties before they will be suitable for use in preclinical models of disease. Although the atomic structure of the P2X1 receptor has yet to be determined, the recent discovery of several other P2X receptor structures and improvements in the field of structural biology suggests that this is now a distinct possibility. Such efforts may significantly improve drug discovery efforts at the P2X1 receptor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)421–433
Number of pages13
JournalPurinergic Signalling
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • ATP
  • Bladder dysfunction
  • Drug discovery
  • Male contraception
  • Structural biology
  • Thrombosis and inflammation

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