Chemokines have several physio-pathological roles in the brain. Among them, the modulation of synaptic contacts and neurotransmission recently emerged as crucial activities during brain development, in adulthood, upon neuroinflammation and neurodegenerative diseases. CXCL16 is a chemokine normally expressed in the brain, where it exerts neuroprotective activity against glutamate-induced damages through cross communication with astrocytes and the involvement of the adenosine receptor type 3 (A3R) and the chemokine CCL2. Here we demonstrated for the first time that CXCL16 exerts a modulatory activity on inhibitory and excitatory synaptic transmission in CA1 area. We found that CXCL16 increases the frequency of the miniature inhibitory synaptic currents (mIPSCs) and the paired-pulse ratio (PPR) of evoked IPSCs (eIPSCs), suggesting a presynaptic modulation of the probability of GABA release. In addition, CXCL16 increases the frequency of the miniature excitatory synaptic currents (mEPSCs) and reduces the PPR of evoked excitatory transmission, indicating that the chemokine also modulates and enhances the release of glutamate. These effects were not present in the A3RKO mice and in WT slices treated with minocycline, confirming the involvement of A3 receptors and introducing microglial cells as key mediators of the modulatory activity of CXCL16 on neurons.
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