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12.09.2018 | Original Article | Ausgabe 1/2019 Open Access

Inflammopharmacology 1/2019

Early P2X7R-dependent activation of microglia during the asymptomatic phase of autoimmune encephalomyelitis

Inflammopharmacology > Ausgabe 1/2019
Tomasz Grygorowicz, Lidia Strużyńska


Microglia-mediated neuroinflammation accompanies many central nervous system (CNS) diseases, including multiple sclerosis (MS), and is strongly dependent on the purinergic P2X7 receptor. The nature of the inflammatory response in MS is studied for decades indicating, that proinflammatory microgliosis is involved in advanced stages of MS and is associated with active tissue damage and neurological dysfunctions. Evidence on the role of microgliosis in initial stages of the disease is scarce. Thus, in the present study, we investigated the time course of microglial activation in rat brain subjected to experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) which is the animal model of MS. We show that activation of microglia occurs in brains of immunized rats at a very early stage of EAE, well before the development of neurological symptoms of the disease. Enhanced immunoreactivity of microglia/macrophage-specific protein Iba-1, together with morphological features of microgliosis, was identified beginning at day 4 post immunization. Concomitantly, microglial expression of P2X7R was also examined. Moreover, our results reveal that administration of Brilliant Blue G, an antagonist of P2X7R, delays the onset of the disease and partially inhibits development of neurological symptoms in EAE rats. Blockage of P2X7R significantly reduces activation of microglia as confirmed by decreased Iba-1 immunoreactivity and suppresses neuroinflammation in EAE rat brains, as indicated by decreased protein levels of investigated proinflammatory cytokines: IL-1β, IL-6 and TNF-α. Our results indicate that microglia are involved in inducing neuroinflammation at a very early stage of MS/EAE via a P2X7R-dependent mechanism.

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