Inorganic polyphosphate regulates AMPA and NMDA receptors and protects against glutamate excitotoxicity via activation of P2Y receptors

M Maiolino, Nathanael O'Neill, V Lariccia, S Amoroso, S Sylantyev, PR Angelova* (Corresponding Author), AY Abramov (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Glutamate is one of the most important neurotransmitters in the process of signal transduction in the CNS. Excessive amounts of this neurotransmitter lead to glutamate excitotoxicity, which is accountable for neuronal death in acute neurological disorders, including stroke and trauma, and in neurodegenerative diseases. Inorganic polyphosphate (PolyP) plays multiple roles in the mammalian brain, including function as a calcium-dependent gliotransmitter mediating communication between astrocytes, while its role in the regulation of neuronal activity is unknown. Here we studied the effect of PolyP on glutamate-induced calcium signal in primary rat neurons in both physiological and pathological conditions. We found that preincubation of primary neurons with PolyP reduced glutamate-induced and AMPA-induced but not the NMDA-induced calcium signal. However, in rat hippocampal acute slices, PolyP reduced ion flux through NMDA and AMPA receptors in native neurons. The effect of PolyP on glutamate and specifically on the AMPA receptors was dependent on the presence of P2Y1 but not of P2X receptor inhibitors and also could be mimicked by P2Y1 agonist 2MeSADP. Preincubation of cortical neurons with PolyP significantly reduced the initial calcium peak as well as the number of neurons with delayed calcium deregulation in response to high concentrations of glutamate and resulted in protection of neurons against glutamate-induced cell death. As a result, activation of P2Y1 receptors by PolyP reduced calcium signal acting through AMPA receptors, thus protecting neurons against glutamate excitotoxicity by reduction of the calcium overload and restoration of mitochondrial function.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6038-6048
Number of pages11
JournalThe Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience
Issue number31
Early online date7 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2019


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