Neurotransmitter receptors on microglia
Stroke and Vascular Neurology
As the resident immune cells in the central nervous system, microglia have long been hypothesised to promote neuroinflammation and exacerbate neurotoxicity. However, this traditional view has undergone recent revision as evidence has accumulated that microglia exert beneficial and detrimental effects depending on activation status, polarisation phenotype and cellular context. A variety of neurotransmitter receptors are expressed on microglia and help mediate the bidirectional communication between neurons and microglia. Here we review data supporting the importance of neurotransmitter receptors on microglia, with a special emphasis on glutamate, γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), norepinephrine, cannabinoid and acetylcholine receptors. We summarise evidence favouring a significant role for neurotransmitter receptors in modulating microglial activation, phagocytic clearance and phenotypic polarisation. Elucidating the effects of neurotransmitter receptors on microglia and dissecting the underlying mechanisms may help accelerate the discovery of novel drugs that tap the therapeutic potential of microglia.
Liu, H., Leak, R., & Hu, X. (2016). Neurotransmitter receptors on microglia. Stroke and Vascular Neurology, 1 (2), 52-58. https://doi.org/10.1136/svn-2016-000012