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Redox Biol. 2019 Apr;22:101118. doi: 10.1016/j.redox.2019.101118. Epub 2019 Feb 6.

CX3CR1-deficient microglia shows impaired signalling of the transcription factor NRF2: Implications in tauopathies.

Author information

1
Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red sobre Enfermedades Neurodegenerativas (CIBERNED), Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria La Paz (IdiPaz), Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas "Alberto Sols" UAM-CSIC, Madrid, Spain; Department of Biochemistry, School of Medicine, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain. Electronic address: scastro@iib.uam.es.
2
Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red sobre Enfermedades Neurodegenerativas (CIBERNED), Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria La Paz (IdiPaz), Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas "Alberto Sols" UAM-CSIC, Madrid, Spain; Department of Biochemistry, School of Medicine, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain. Electronic address: ajgarcia@iib.uam.es.
3
Department of Neurology, Center Nanoscale Microscopy and Molecular Physiology of the Brain (CNMPB), University of Medicine Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany. Electronic address: sebastian.kuegler@med.uni-goettingen.de.
4
Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red sobre Enfermedades Neurodegenerativas (CIBERNED), Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria La Paz (IdiPaz), Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas "Alberto Sols" UAM-CSIC, Madrid, Spain; Department of Biochemistry, School of Medicine, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain. Electronic address: ilbecker@iib.uam.es.

Abstract

TAU protein aggregation is the main characteristic of neurodegenerative diseases known as tauopathies. Low-grade chronic inflammation is also another hallmark that indicates crosstalk between damaged neurons and glial cells. Previously, we have demonstrated that neurons overexpressing TAUP301L release CX3CL1, which activates the transcription factor NRF2 signalling to limit over-activation in microglial cells in vitro and in vivo. However, the connection between CX3CL1/CX3CR1 and NRF2 system and its functional implications in microglia are poorly described. We evaluated CX3CR1/NRF2 axis in the context of tauopathies and its implication in neuroinflammation. Regarding the molecular mechanisms that connect CX3CL1/CX3CR1 and NRF2 systems, we observed that in primary microglia from Cx3cr1-/- mice the mRNA levels of Nrf2 and its related genes were significantly decreased, establishing a direct linking between both systems. To determine functional relevance of CX3CR1, migration and phagocytosis assays were evaluated. CX3CR1-deficient microglia showed impaired cell migration and deficiency of phagocytosis, as previously described for NRF2-deficient microglia, reinforcing the idea of the relevance of the CX3CL1/CX3CR1 axis in these events. The importance of these findings was evident in a tauopathy mouse model where the effects of sulforaphane (SFN), an NRF2 inducer, were examined on neuroinflammation in Cx3cr1+/+ and Cx3cr1-/- mice. Interestingly, the treatment with SFN was able to modulate astrogliosis but failed to reduce microgliosis in Cx3cr1-/- mice. These findings suggest an essential role of the CX3CR1/NRF2 axis in microglial function and in tauopathies. Therefore, polymorphisms with loss of function in CX3CR1 or NRF2 have to be taken into account for the development of therapeutic strategies.

KEYWORDS:

AXL; Inflammation; Microgliosis; Migration; Neurodegeneration; Sulforaphane; TAM receptors; TAU

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