Research in mice has found the P2X7 receptor (P2X7R) to be a key regulator of mitochondrial energy metabolism that enhances physical fitness. P2X7R is a channel that becomes activated in response to ATP, the organic compound that gives the body energy for a variety of biological processes such as muscle contractions and nerve impulses. The study is published ahead of print in the journal Function.
Expression of P2X7R improves mitochondrial metabolism and fitness of the body’s immune cells. The P2X7R localizes to mitochondria; a deficiency that significantly affects cardiac health. In this study, researchers found that mice lacking P2X7, the protein encoded by the P2X7 gene, had hypertrophic hearts with smaller mitochondria. The deficient mice experienced impaired ejection fraction and reduced cardiac output.
“Our study highlights an as yet un-described function of the P2X7R in the regulation of mitochondrial metabolism and points to a potentially relevant role in cardiac function and physical fitness,” the researchers wrote.
Read the full article, “Mitochondrial P2X7 receptor localization modulates energy metabolism enhancing physical performance.” Contact the APS Communications Office to schedule an interview with the research team.