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P2X7 Receptors Drive Poly(I:C) Induced Autism-like Behavior in Mice.

Horváth, Gergely; Otrokocsi, Lilla; Beko, Katinka; Baranyi, Mária; Kittel, Ágnes; Fritz-Ruenes, Pablo Antonio; Sperlágh, Beáta.
J Neurosci; 39(13): 2542-2561, 2019 03 27.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30683682
Maternal immune activation (MIA) is a principal environmental risk factor contributing to autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which compromises fetal brain development at critical periods of pregnancy and might be causally linked to ASD symptoms. We report that endogenous activation of the purinergic ion channel P2X7 (P2rx7) is necessary and sufficient to transduce MIA to autistic phenotype in male offspring. MIA induced by poly(IC) injections to P2rx7 WT mouse dams elicited an autism-like phenotype in their offspring, and these alterations were not observed in P2rx7-deficient mice, or following maternal treatment with a specific P2rx7 antagonist, JNJ47965567. Genetic deletion and pharmacological inhibition of maternal P2rx7s also counteracted the induction of IL-6 in the maternal plasma and fetal brain, and disrupted brain development, whereas postnatal P2rx7 inhibition alleviated behavioral and morphological alterations in the offspring. Administration of ATP to P2rx7 WT dams also evoked autistic phenotype, but not in KO dams, implying that P2rx7 activation by ATP is sufficient to induce autism-like features in offspring. Our results point to maternal and offspring P2rx7s as potential therapeutic targets for the early prevention and treatment of ASD.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental psychiatric disorder caused by genetic and environmental factors. Recent studies highlighted the importance of perinatal risks, in particular, maternal immune activation (MIA), showing strong association with the later emergence of ASD in the affected children. MIA could be mimicked in animal models via injection of a nonpathogenic agent poly(IC) during pregnancy. This is the first report showing the key role of a ligand gated ion channel, the purinergic P2X7 receptor in MIA-induced autism-like behavioral and biochemical features. We show that genetic or pharmacological inhibition of both maternal and offspring P2X7 receptors could reverse the compromised brain development and autistic phenotype pointing to new possibilities for prevention and treatment of ASD.