The P2X7 receptor is expressed in both anterior and posterior segments of the eyeball. In the ocular surface, the P2X7 receptor is activated in case of external aggressions: preservatives and surfactants induce the activation of P2X7 receptors, leading to either apoptosis, inflammation, or cell proliferation. In the retina, the key endogenous actors of age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma act through P2X7 receptors’ activation and/or upregulation of P2X7 receptors’ expression. Different therapeutic strategies aimed at the P2X7 receptor exist. P2X7 receptor antagonists, such as divalent cations and Brilliant Blue G (BBG) could be used to target either the ocular surface or the retina, as long as polyunsaturated fatty acids may exert their effects through the disruption of plasma membrane lipid rafts or saffron that reduces the response evoked by P2X7 receptor stimulation. Treatments against P2X7 receptor activation are proposed by using either eye drops or food supplements.
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