European journal of pharmacology

A novel radioligand for the ATP-gated ion channel P2X7: [3H] JNJ-54232334.

PMID 26386289


The ATP-gated ion channel P2X7 has emerged as a potential central nervous system (CNS) drug target based on the hypotheses that pro-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-1β that are released by microglia, may contribute to the etiology of various disorders of the CNS including depression. In this study, we identified two closely related P2X7 antagonists, JNJ-54232334 and JNJ-54140515, and then tritium labeled the former to produce a new radioligand for P2X7. JNJ-54232334 is a high affinity ligand for the rat P2X7 with a pKi of 9.3±0.1. In rat cortical membranes, [3H] JNJ-54232334 reached saturable binding with equilibrium dissociation (Kd) constant of 4.9±1.3 nM. The compound displayed monophasic association and dissociation kinetics with fast on and off rates. In rat brain sections, specific binding of [3H] JNJ-54232334 was markedly improved compared to the previously described P2X7 radioligand, [3H] A-804598. In P2X7 knockout mouse brain sections, [3H] A-804598 bound to non-P2X7 binding sites in contrast to [3H] JNJ-54232334. In rat or wild type mouse brain sections [3H] JNJ-54232334 bound in a more homogenous and region independent manner. The ubiquitous expression of P2X7 receptors was confirmed with immunohistochemistry in rat brain sections. The partial displacement of [3H] A-804598 binding resulted in the underestimation of the level of ex vivo P2X7 occupancy for JNJ-54140515. Higher levels of P2X7 ex vivo occupancy were measured using [3H] JNJ-54232334 due to less non-specific binding. In summary, we describe [3H] JNJ-54232334 as a novel P2X7 radioligand, with improved properties over [3H] A-804598.