Perinatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), known as birth asphyxia, remains a major contributor to poor neurodevelopmental outcomes including cerebral palsy and seizures. One striking feature of HIE injury is a delayed progression of neuronal degeneration that spreads over time from the most severely damaged areas outward into neighboring undamaged regions. There is increasing evidence that these lesions act as sites of origin for waves of spreading depression (SD), a wave of neuronal and glial depolarization, that progressively enlarge the brain lesions. While the pathophysiology of SD is still under debate, there is increasing evidence that purinergic receptors in conjunction with connexin and pannexin 1 channels are necessary for sustained propagation of the waves and neuroinflammation. This review intends to discuss the relative contribution of purinergic signaling and connexin and pannexin 1 channels to trigger and spread SD waves leading to the development of progressive brain lesions under conditions of perinatal HIE.
Part of the book: Receptors P1 and P2 as Targets for Drug Therapy in Humans