Modulation of microglia activation and Alzheimer's disease: CX3 chemokine ligand 1/CX3CR and P2X7R signaling

Tzu Chi Med J. 2021 Jan 5;33(1):1-6. doi: 10.4103/tcmj.tcmj_144_20. eCollection 2021 Jan-Mar.


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease characterized by cognitive deficits. Two hallmarks of AD that cause chronic inflammation and lead to neuronal dysfunction and damage are tau tangles and amyloid plaques. Microglial cells, the primary immune cells of the central nervous system, maintain a homeostatic active/inactive state via a bidirectional, dynamic communication with neurons. Several studies have revealed that dysregulated microglial activation leads to AD pathology. Therefore, we reviewed the relationship between AD and two important signaling complexes, CX3 chemokine ligand 1 (CX3CL1)/CX3CR1 and ATP/P2X7R, that play critical roles in the regulation of microglial activation. CX3CL1/CX3CR1 is one important signaling which controls the microglia function. Altering this pathway can have opposite effects on amyloid and tau pathology in AD. Another important molecule is P2X7R which involves in the activation of microglia. Over activation of P2X7R is evident in AD pathogenesis. In this review, we discuss influence of the two signaling pathways at different stages of AD pathology as well as the drug candidates that can modulate CX3CL1/CX3CR1 and ATP/P2X7R.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; CX3 chemokine ligand 1/CX3CR1; Microglia; P2X7R.

Publication types

  • Review