Background: Homozygotic mutations in the GBA gene cause Gaucher’s disease; moreover, both patients and heterozygotic carriers have been associated with 20- to 30-fold increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. In homozygosis, these mutations impair the activity of β-glucocerebrosidase, the enzyme encoded by GBA, and generate a lysosomal disorder in macrophages, which changes morphology towards an engorged phenotype, considered the hallmark of Gaucher’s disease. Notwithstanding the key role of macrophages in this disease, most of the effects in the brain have been attributed to the β-glucocerebrosidase deficit in neurons, while a microglial phenotype for these mutations has never been reported. Methods: We applied the bioluminescence imaging technology, immunohistochemistry and gene expression analysis to investigate the consequences of microglial β-glucocerebrosidase inhibition in the brain of reporter mice, in primary neuron/microglia cocultures and in cell lines. The use of primary cells from reporter mice allowed for the first time, to discriminate in cocultures neuronal from microglial responses consequent to the β-glucocerebrosidase inhibition; results were finally confirmed by pharmacological depletion of microglia from the brain of mice. Results: Our data demonstrate the existence of a novel neuroprotective mechanism mediated by a direct microglia-to-neuron contact supported by functional actin structures. This cellular contact stimulates the nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 activity in neurons, a key signal involved in drug detoxification, redox balance, metabolism, autophagy, lysosomal biogenesis, mitochondrial dysfunctions, and neuroinflammation. The central role played by microglia in this neuronal response in vivo was proven by depletion of the lineage in the brain of reporter mice. Pharmacological inhibition of microglial β-glucocerebrosidase was proven to induce morphological changes, to turn on an anti-inflammatory/repairing pathway, and to hinder the microglia ability to activate the nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 response, thus increasing the neuronal susceptibility to neurotoxins. Conclusion: This mechanism provides a possible explanation for the increased risk of neurodegeneration observed in carriers of GBA mutations and suggest novel therapeutic strategies designed to revert the microglial phenotype associated with β-glucocerebrosidase inhibition, aimed at resetting the protective microglia-to-neuron communication.

Inhibition of microglial β-glucocerebrosidase hampers the microglia-mediated antioxidant and protective response in neurons / E. Brunialti, A. Villa, M. Mekhaeil, F. Mornata, E. Vegeto, A. Maggi, D.A. Di Monte, P. Ciana. - In: JOURNAL OF NEUROINFLAMMATION. - ISSN 1742-2094. - 18:1(2021 Sep 22), pp. 220.1-220.18. [10.1186/s12974-021-02272-2]

Inhibition of microglial β-glucocerebrosidase hampers the microglia-mediated antioxidant and protective response in neurons

E. Brunialti;A. Villa
;
F. Mornata;E. Vegeto;A. Maggi;P. Ciana
2021-09-22

Abstract

Background: Homozygotic mutations in the GBA gene cause Gaucher’s disease; moreover, both patients and heterozygotic carriers have been associated with 20- to 30-fold increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. In homozygosis, these mutations impair the activity of β-glucocerebrosidase, the enzyme encoded by GBA, and generate a lysosomal disorder in macrophages, which changes morphology towards an engorged phenotype, considered the hallmark of Gaucher’s disease. Notwithstanding the key role of macrophages in this disease, most of the effects in the brain have been attributed to the β-glucocerebrosidase deficit in neurons, while a microglial phenotype for these mutations has never been reported. Methods: We applied the bioluminescence imaging technology, immunohistochemistry and gene expression analysis to investigate the consequences of microglial β-glucocerebrosidase inhibition in the brain of reporter mice, in primary neuron/microglia cocultures and in cell lines. The use of primary cells from reporter mice allowed for the first time, to discriminate in cocultures neuronal from microglial responses consequent to the β-glucocerebrosidase inhibition; results were finally confirmed by pharmacological depletion of microglia from the brain of mice. Results: Our data demonstrate the existence of a novel neuroprotective mechanism mediated by a direct microglia-to-neuron contact supported by functional actin structures. This cellular contact stimulates the nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 activity in neurons, a key signal involved in drug detoxification, redox balance, metabolism, autophagy, lysosomal biogenesis, mitochondrial dysfunctions, and neuroinflammation. The central role played by microglia in this neuronal response in vivo was proven by depletion of the lineage in the brain of reporter mice. Pharmacological inhibition of microglial β-glucocerebrosidase was proven to induce morphological changes, to turn on an anti-inflammatory/repairing pathway, and to hinder the microglia ability to activate the nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 response, thus increasing the neuronal susceptibility to neurotoxins. Conclusion: This mechanism provides a possible explanation for the increased risk of neurodegeneration observed in carriers of GBA mutations and suggest novel therapeutic strategies designed to revert the microglial phenotype associated with β-glucocerebrosidase inhibition, aimed at resetting the protective microglia-to-neuron communication.
microglia; Gaucher's; Parkinson's disease
Settore BIO/14 - Farmacologia
JPI_MIUR20PCIAN_01 - GBA – personalised medicine for Parkinson disease: clinical and therapeutic Stratification (GBA – PaCTS) - CIANA, PAOLO - JPI_MIUR - Joint Programming Initiatives_MIUR - 2020
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/870005
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