Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a chronic, progressive neurodegenerative condition; characterized with the degeneration of the nigrostriatal dopaminergic pathway and neuroinflammation. During PD progression, microglia, the resident immune cells in the central nervous system (CNS) display altered activity, but their role in maintaining PD development has remained unclear to date. The purinergic P2Y12 receptor (P2Y12R), which is exclusively expressed on the microglia in the CNS has been shown to regulate microglial activity and responses; however, the function of the P2Y12R in PD is unknown. Here we show that while pharmacological or genetic targeting of P2Y12R previous to disease onset augments acute mortality, these interventions protect against neurodegenerative cell loss and the development of neuroinflammation in vivo. Pharmacological inhibition of receptors during disease development reverses the symptoms of PD and halts disease progression. We found that P2Y12R regulate ROCK and p38 MAPK activity and control cytokine production. Understanding protective and detrimental P2Y12 receptor-mediated actions in the CNS may reveal novel approaches to control neuroinflammation and modify disease progression in PD.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience