Differential expression of adenosine A3 receptors controls adenosine A2A receptor-mediated inhibition of TLR responses in microglia

Céline Van Der Putten, Ella A. Zuiderwijk-Sick, Linda Van Straalen, Eveline D. De Geus, Leonie A. Boven, Ivanela Kondova, Ad P. IJzerman, Jeffrey J. Bajramovic

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64 Citations (Scopus)


Microglia activation is a prominent feature in many neuroinflammatory disorders. Unrestrained activation can generate a chronic inflammatory environment that might lead to neurodegeneration and autoimmunity. Extracellular adenosine modulates cellular activation through adenosine receptor (ADORA)-mediated signaling. There are four ADORA subtypes that can either increase (A2A and A2B receptors) or decrease (A 1 and A3 receptors) intracellular cyclic AMP levels. The expression pattern of the subtypes thus orchestrates the cellular response to extracellular adenosine. We have investigated the expression of ADORA subtypes in unstimulated and TLR-activated primary rhesus monkey microglia. Activation induced an up-regulation of A2A and a down-regulation of A 3 receptor (A3R) levels. The altered ADORA-expression pattern sensitized microglia to A2A receptor (A2AR)- mediated inhibition of subsequent TLR-induced cytokine responses. By using combinations of subtype-specific agonists and antagonists, we revealed that in unstimulated microglia, A2AR-mediated inhibitory signaling was effectively counteracted by A3R-mediated signaling. In activated microglia, the decrease in A3R-mediated signaling sensitized them to A2AR-mediated inhibitory signaling. We report a differential, activation state-specific expression of ADORA in microglia and uncover a role for A3R as dynamically regulated suppressors of A2AR- mediated inhibition of TLR-induced responses. This would suggest exploration of combinations of A2AR agonists and A3R antagonists to dampen microglial activation during chronic neuroinflammatory conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7603-7612
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2009
Externally publishedYes

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