The present study shows that human mononuclear phagocytes express a P2Z- like purinergic membrane receptor activity. Extracellular adenosine triphosphate (ATP) induces the formation of nonselective membrane pores in human mononuclear phagocytes that allow the entry of otherwise membrane impermeant fluorescent dyes (YO-PRO-1 or Lucifer yellow) into the cytoplasm of these cells. The percentage of mononuclear phagocytes that was permeabilized by ATP increased as monocytes matured into macrophages. Their response to ATP was inhibited by Mg2+ and oxidized ATP. Benzoylbenzoic-ATP (BzBzATP) was approximately 60% as effective as ATP and adenosine-5 -O-(thiophosphate) (ATP gamma S) was less than 20% as effective as ATP in permeabilizing human macrophages to YO-PRO-1 or Lucifer Yellow. Thus, the human P2Z-like receptor differs from its murine counterpart because BzBzATP, ATP, and ATP gamma S are equally efficacious in permeabilizing murine macrophage-like J774 cells to these dyes. UTP, GTP, and CTP were ineffective in permeabilizing human or murine macrophages to YO-PRO-1. Taken together, these data indicate that human monocyte-derived macrophages express a P2Z-like activity that is pharmacologically distinct from that expressed by their murine counterparts and that expression of these receptors is developmentally regulated in human mononuclear phagocytes.

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