Chronic neuroinflammation is a common feature of the ageing brain and some neurodegenerative disorders. However, the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the regulation of innate immunity in the central nervous system remain elusive. Here we show that the astrocytic dopamine D2 receptor (DRD2) modulates innate immunity through αB-crystallin (CRYAB), which is known to suppress neuroinflammation1,2. We demonstrate that knockout mice lacking Drd2 showed remarkable inflammatory response in multiple central nervous system regions and increased the vulnerability of nigral dopaminergic neurons to neurotoxin 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP)-induced neurotoxicity3. Astrocytes null for Drd2 became hyper-responsive to immune stimuli with a marked reduction in the level of CRYAB. Preferential ablation of Drd2 in astrocytes robustly activated astrocytes in the substantia nigra. Gain- or loss-of-function studies showed that CRYAB is critical for DRD2-mediated modulation of innate immune response in astrocytes. Furthermore, treatment of wild-type mice with the selective DRD2 agonist quinpirole increased resistance of the nigral dopaminergic neurons to MPTP through partial suppression of inflammation. Our study indicates that astrocytic DRD2 activation normally suppresses neuroinflammation in the central nervous system through a CRYAB-dependent mechanism, and provides a new strategy for targeting the astrocyte-mediated innate immune response in the central nervous system during ageing and disease.
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Gene Expression Omnibus
All original microarray data have been deposited in the NCBI Gene Expression Omnibus under accession number GSE41638.
We thank B. Zhang and Y. J. Yan for technical assistance; L. Zhu for technical support in DNA microarray analysis; the Optical Imaging Center of ION and the Cell Biology Analysis Center of IBCB for technical support in confocal microscopy; T. L. Hagemann for providing the CRYAB construct; R. Quinlan for anti-CRYAB antibodies, Y. Q. Ding for providing the Drd1 and Drd2 gene null mice; we also thank Shanghai Research Center for Model Organisms for creating Drd2-floxed mice. This work was supported by grants from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, National Basic Research Program of China (nos 2011CBA00408 and 2011CB504102), Natural Science Foundation of China (nos 31021063 and 31123002), and Shanghai Metropolitan Fund for Research and Development.
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