ATP release during cell swelling activates a Ca2+-dependent Cl - Current by autocrine mechanism in mouse hippocampal microglia

E. Murana, F. Pagani, B. Basilico, M. Sundukova, L. Batti, S. Di Angelantonio, B. Cortese, A. Grimaldi, A. Francioso, P. Heppenstall, P. Bregestovski, C. Limatola, D. Ragozzino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Microglia cells, resident immune cells of the brain, survey brain parenchyma by dynamically extending and retracting their processes. Cl- channels, activated in the cellular response to stretch/swelling, take part in several functions deeply connected with microglia physiology, including cell shape changes, proliferation, differentiation and migration. However, the molecular identity and functional properties of these Cl- channels are largely unknown. We investigated the properties of swelling-activated currents in microglial from acute hippocampal slices of Cx3cr1+/GFP mice by whole-cell patch-clamp and imaging techniques. The exposure of cells to a mild hypotonic medium, caused an outward rectifying current, developing in 5-10 minutes and reverting upon stimulus washout. This current, required for microglia ability to extend processes towards a damage signal, was carried mainly by Cl- ions and dependent on intracellular Ca2+. Moreover, it involved swelling-induced ATP release. We identified a purine-dependent mechanism, likely constituting an amplification pathway of current activation: under hypotonic conditions, ATP release triggered the Ca2+-dependent activation of anionic channels by autocrine purine receptors stimulation. Our study on native microglia describes for the first time the functional properties of stretch/swelling-activated currents, representing a key element in microglia ability to monitor the brain parenchyma.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4184
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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