Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is the most common life-limiting, autosomal recessive genetic disease affecting the U.S. population, and is due to mutations in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane regulator (CFTR) gene. The consequence of the deltaF508CFTR mutation, the most common in the population, is a failure of the mutant CFTR protein to traffick correctly to the apical plasma membrane of epithelial cells in lung and elsewhere. A profoundly morbid consequence of an intrinsic proinflammatory phenotype occurs in the CF lung. We have designed and synthesized pyridinium salts that inhibit the formation of interleukin-8 in lung epithelial cells that act as a model of cystic fibrosis. These antagonists are amphiphilic pyridinium derivatives, and the mechanism of action is being explored. ? ? The P2X ion channels are receptor channels activated by extracellular ATP and mediate a number of potent and possibly important biological effects in the cardiovascular, inflammatory, and central nervous systems. Previous studies have shown that extracellular ATP can cause an ionic current in murine, rat and guinea pig cardiac ventricular myocytes. The receptor that mediates this current appears to be a P2X receptor, of which the P2X4 receptor is an important subunit. Activation of P2X receptors leads to the opening of a nonselective cation channel permeable to sodiumn, potassium, and calcium ions. The current is inward at negative membrane potentials, reverses near 0 mV, and becomes outward at positive potentials. The continuous activation of this receptor channel by endogenous extracellular ATP may assume an important biological function. This constant activation under the resting or negative membrane potentials would produce an inward current, whereas its activation during depolarized portions of the action potential should lead to an outward current. These currents represent a possible ionic mechanism by which the cardiac P2X channel achieves its biological effects. A potential biologically important role of the cardiac P2X receptor was suggested by the finding that cardiac myocyte-specific overexpression of the P2X4 receptor can rescue the hypertrophic and heart failure phenotype of the calsequestrin (CSQ) model of cardiomyopathy. However, little is known regarding regulation of the cardiac P2X receptor in cardiac hypertrophy or failure. Furthermore, it is not clear whether an increased activation of the endogenous P2X receptor channel is beneficial or harmful in the progression of heart failure. In collaboration with Dr. Bruce Liang (Univ.of Connecticut) we investigated the regulation of the P2X receptor-mediated ionic current and its potential role in heart failure using several novel nucleotide agonists. Chronic administration of a novel nucleotidase-resistant P2 receptor agonist MRS2339, which was capable of inducing this ionic current and devoid of any vasodilator action, reduced cardiac hypertrophy and increase lifespan. The data suggest that an important biological function of the cardiac P2X current is to favorably modulate the progression of cardiac hypertrophy and failure.? ? The P2X7 receptor, a ligand gated ion channel that responds to ATP and other nucleotide derivatives, is involved in the inflammatory process. In the brain it occurs on microglial cells. Antagonists of the P2X7 receptor, based on tyrosine derivatives are being designed as functionalized congeners. In these antagonists, a reactive chain forms an extension of the Tyr side chain. Since the receptor likely consists of higher order bundles of multiple subunits, and we might expect more that one binding site for agonists or for antagonists to occur on each functional ion channel, we have designed dimers of these antagonists that still act as potent blockers of the actions of ATP.

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