P2Y13 receptors regulate microglial morphology, surveillance, and resting levels of interleukin 1β release


Microglia sense their environment using an array of membrane receptors. While P2Y12 receptors are known to play a key role in targeting directed motility of microglial processes to sites of damage where ATP/ADP is released, little is known about the role of P2Y13 , which transcriptome data suggest is the second most expressed neurotransmitter receptor in microglia. We show that, in patch-clamp recordings in acute brain slices from mice lacking P2Y13 receptors, the THIK-1 K+ current density evoked by ADP activating P2Y12 receptors was increased by ~50%. This increase suggested that the P2Y12 -dependent chemotaxis response should be potentiated; however, the time needed for P2Y12 -mediated convergence of microglial processes onto an ADP-filled pipette or to a laser ablation was longer in the P2Y13 KO. Anatomical analysis showed that the density of microglia was unchanged, but that they were less ramified with a shorter process length in the P2Y13 KO. Thus, chemotactic processes had to grow further and so arrived later at the target, and brain surveillance was reduced by ~30% in the knock-out. Blocking P2Y12 receptors in brain slices from P2Y13 KO mice did not affect surveillance, demonstrating that tonic activation of these high-affinity receptors is not needed for surveillance. Strikingly, baseline interleukin-1β release was increased fivefold while release evoked by LPS and ATP was not affected in the P2Y13 KO, and microglia in intact P2Y13 KO brains were not detectably activated. Thus, P2Y13 receptors play a role different from that of their close relative P2Y12 in regulating microglial morphology and function.

Journal details

Journal Glia
Volume 68
Issue number 2
Pages 328-344
Available online
Publication date