Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Neuroscience and BioMed Central.

Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Hypoxia induced amoeboid microglial cell activation in postnatal rat brain is mediated by ATP receptor P2X4

Fan Li1*, Lei Wang2, Ji-Wei Li2, Min Gong1, Liang He1, Rui Feng1, Zhen Dai3 and Shu-Qing Li1*

Author affiliations

1 Department of Pathophysiology, Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, Kunming Medical College, Kunming, 1168 West Chunrong Road 650500, PR China

2 Department of Physiology, Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, Kunming Hai-Yuan Medical College, Kunming, 295 Haiyuan Road 650031, PR China

3 The Fourth Affiliated Hospital of Kunming Medical College, Kunming, 176 Qingnian Road 650051, PR China

For all author emails, please log on.

Citation and License

BMC Neuroscience 2011, 12:111  doi:10.1186/1471-2202-12-111

Published: 4 November 2011

Abstract

Background

Activation of amoeboid microglial cells (AMC) and its related inflammatory response have been linked to the periventricular white matter damage after hypoxia in neonatal brain. Hypoxia increases free ATP in the brain and then induces various effects through ATP receptors. The present study explored the possible mechanism in ATP induced AMC activation in hypoxia.

Results

We first examined the immunoexpression of P2X4, P2X7 and P2Y12 in the corpus callosum (CC) and subependyma associated with the lateral ventricles where both areas are rich in AMC. Among the three purinergic receptors, P2X4 was most intensely expressed. By double immunofluorescence, P2X4 was specifically localized in AMC (from P0 to P7) but the immunofluorescence in AMC was progressively diminished with advancing age (P14). It was further shown that P2X4 expression was noticeably enhanced in P0 day rats subjected to hypoxia and killed at 4, 24, 72 h and 7 d versus their matching controls by double labeling and western blotting analysis. P2X4 expression was most intense at 7 d whence the inflammatory response was drastic after hypoxia. We then studied the association of P2X4 with cytokine release in AMC after hypoxic exposure. In primary microglial cells exposed to hypoxia, IL-1β and TNF-α protein levels were up-regulated. Blockade of P2X4 receptor with 2', 3'-0-(2, 4, 6-Trinitrophenyl) adenosine 5'-triphosphate, a selective P2X1-7 blocker resulted in partial suppression of IL-1β (24% vs hypoxic group) and TNF-α expression (40% vs hypoxic group). However, pyridoxal phosphate-6-azo (benzene-2, 4-disulfonic acid) tetrasodium salt hydrate, a selective P2X1-3, 5-7 blocker did not exert any significant effect on the cytokine expression.

Conclusions

It is concluded that P2X4 which is constitutively expressed by AMC in postnatal rats was enhanced in hypoxia. Hypoxia induced increase in IL-1β and TNF-α expression was reversed by 2', 3'-0-(2, 4, 6-Trinitrophenyl) adenosine 5'-triphosphate suggesting that P2X4 mediates ATP induced AMC activation and its production of proinflammatory cytokines.