Purinergic signaling induces cyclooxygenase-1-dependent prostanoid synthesis in microglia: roles in the outcome of excitotoxic brain injury
Anrather, Josef; Gallo, Eduardo F; Kawano, Takayuki; Orio, Marcello; Abe, Takato; Gooden, Camile; Zhou, Ping; Iadecola, Costantino
Cyclooxygenases (COX) are prostanoid synthesizing enzymes constitutively expressed in the brain that contribute to excitotoxic neuronal cell death. While the neurotoxic role of COX-2 is well established and has been linked to prostaglandin E(2) synthesis, the role of COX-1 is not clearly understood. In a model of N-Methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA) induced excitotoxicity in the mouse cerebral cortex we found a distinctive temporal profile of COX-1 and COX-2 activation where COX-1, located in microglia, is responsible for the early phase of prostaglandin E(2) synthesis (10 minutes after NMDA), while both COX-1 and COX-2 contribute to the second phase (3-24 hours after NMDA). Microglial COX-1 is strongly activated by ATP but not excitatory neurotransmitters or the Toll-like receptor 4 ligand bacterial lipopolysaccharide. ATP induced microglial COX-1 dependent prostaglandin E(2) synthesis is dependent on P2X7 receptors, extracellular Ca(2+) and cytoplasmic phospholipase A2. NMDA receptor activation induces ATP release from cultured neurons leading to microglial P2X7 receptor activation and COX-1 dependent prostaglandin E(2) synthesis in mixed microglial-neuronal cultures. Pharmacological inhibition of COX-1 has no effect on the cortical lesion produced by NMDA, but counteracts the neuroprotection exerted by inhibition of COX-2 or observed in mice lacking the prostaglandin E(2) receptor type 1. Similarly, the neuroprotection exerted by the prostaglandin E(2) receptor type 2 agonist butaprost is not observed after COX-1 inhibition. P2X7 receptors contribute to NMDA induced prostaglandin E(2) production in vivo and blockage of P2X7 receptors reverses the neuroprotection offered by COX-2 inhibition. These findings suggest that purinergic signaling in microglia triggered by neuronal ATP modulates excitotoxic cortical lesion by regulating COX-1 dependent prostanoid production and unveil a previously unrecognized protective role of microglial COX-1 in excitotoxic brain injury.