It has long been believed that microglia morphologically transform into the activated state by retracting their long processes and consuming pathogens when bacteria infect into the brain parenchyma. In the present study, however, we showed for the first time that murine cortical microglia extend their processes towards focally injected Porphyromonas gingivalis. This P. gingivalis-induced microglial process extension was significantly increased during the light (sleeping) phase than the dark (waking) phase. In contrast, focally injected ATP-induced microglial process extension was significantly increased during the dark phase than the light phase. Furthermore, in contrast to the P2Y 12 receptor-mediated mechanism of ATP-induced microglial process extension, the P. gingivalis-mediated microglial process extension was mediated by P2Y 6 receptors. The infection of bacteria such as P. gingivalis to the brain parenchyma may induce the secretion of UDP from microglia at the site of infection, which in turn induces the process extension of the neighboring microglia.
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