Classical activation (M1 phenotype) and alternative activation (M2 phenotype) are the two polars of microglial activation states that can produce either neurotoxic or neuroprotective effects in the immune pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Exploiting the beneficial properties of microglia cells by modulating their polarization states provides great potential for the treatment of PD. However, the mechanism that regulates microglia polarization remains elusive. Here we demonstrated that Kir6.1-containing ATP-sensitive potassium (Kir6.1/K-ATP) channel switched microglia from the detrimental M1 phenotype toward the beneficial M2 phenotype. Kir6.1 knockdown inhibited M2 polarization and simultaneously exaggerated M1 microglial inflammatory responses, while Kir6.1 overexpression promoted M2 polarization and synchronously alleviated the toxic phase of M1 microglia polarization. Furthermore, we observed that the Kir6.1 deficiency dramatically exacerbated dopaminergic neuron death companied by microglia activation in mouse model of PD. Mechanistically, Kir6.1 deficiency enhanced the activation of p38 MAPK–NF-κB pathway and increased the ratio of M1/M2 markers in the substantia nigra compacta of mouse model of PD. Suppression of p38 MAPK in vivo partially rescued the deleterious effects of Kir6.1 ablation on microglia phenotype and dopaminergic neuron death. Collectively, our findings reveal that Kir6.1/K-ATP channel modulates microglia phenotypes transition via inhibition of p38 MAPK–NF-κB signaling pathway and Kir6.1/K-ATP channel may be a promising therapeutic target for PD.
Cell Death & Disease – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 14, 2018
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