Salient brain entities labelled in P2rx7-EGFP reporter mouse embryos include the septum, roof plate glial specializations and circumventricular ependymal organs
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The purinergic system is one of the oldest cell-to-cell communication mechanisms and exhibits relevant functions in the regulation of the central nervous system (CNS) development. Amongst the components of the purinergic system, the ionotropic P2X7 receptor (P2X7R) stands out as a potential regulator of brain pathology and physiology. Thus, P2X7R is known to regulate crucial aspects of neuronal cell biology, including axonal elongation, path-finding, synapse formation and neuroprotection. Moreover, P2X7R modulates neuroinflammation and is posed as a therapeutic target in inflammatory, oncogenic and degenerative disorders. However, the lack of reliable technical and pharmacological approaches to detect this receptor represents a major hurdle in its study. Here, we took advantage of the P2rx7-EGFP reporter mouse, which expresses enhanced green fluorescence protein (EGFP) immediately downstream of the P2rx7 proximal promoter, to conduct a detailed study of its distribution. We performed a comprehensive analysis of the pattern of P2X7R expression in the brain of E18.5 mouse embryos revealing interesting areas within the CNS. Particularly, strong labelling was found in the septum, as well as along the entire neural roof plate zone of the brain, except chorioidal roof areas, but including specialized circumventricular roof formations, such as the subfornical and subcommissural organs (SFO; SCO). Moreover, our results reveal what seems a novel circumventricular organ, named by us postarcuate organ (PArcO). Furthermore, this study sheds light on the ongoing debate regarding the specific presence of P2X7R in neurons and may be of interest for the elucidation of additional roles of P2X7R in the idiosyncratic histologic development of the CNS and related systemic functions.