Microglia engage in the clearance of dead cells or dangerous debris. When neighboring cells are injured, the cells release or leak ATP into extracellular space and microglia rapidly move toward or extend a process to the nucleotides as chemotaxis through P2Y12 receptors. In the meanwhile, microglia express the metabotropic P2Y6 receptors, the activation of which by uridine 5'-diphosphate (UDP) triggers microglial phagocytosis in a concentration-dependent fashion. UDP/UTP was leaked when hippocampal neurons were damaged by kainic acid in vivo and in vitro. Systemic administration of kainic acid in rats resulted in neuronal cell death in the hippocampal CA1 and CA3 regions, where increases in mRNA for P2Y6 receptors in activated microglia. Thus, the P2Y6 receptor is upregulated when neurons are damaged, and would function as a sensor for phagocytosis by sensing diffusible UDP signals.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Cell Biology