Image_1_Microglia Mediate Synaptic Material Clearance at the Early Stage of Rats With Retinitis Pigmentosa.TIF (1.07 MB)
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Image_1_Microglia Mediate Synaptic Material Clearance at the Early Stage of Rats With Retinitis Pigmentosa.TIF

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posted on 26.04.2019, 14:12 by Juncai He, Congjian Zhao, Jiaman Dai, Chuan Huang Weng, Bai Shi Jiao Bian, Yu Gong, Lingling Ge, Yajie Fang, Hui Liu, Haiwei Xu, Zheng Qin Yin

Resident microglia are the main immune cells in the retina and play a key role in the pathogenesis of retinitis pigmentosa (RP). Many previous studies on the roles of microglia mainly focused on the neurotoxicity or neuroprotection of photoreceptors, while their contributions to synaptic remodeling of neuronal circuits in the retina of early RP remained unclarified. In the present study, we used Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) rats, a classic RP model characterized by progressive microglia activation and synapse loss, to investigate the constitutive effects of microglia on the synaptic lesions and ectopic neuritogenesis. Rod degeneration resulted in synapse disruption and loss in the outer plexiform layer (OPL) at the early stage of RP. Coincidentally, the resident microglia in the OPL increased phagocytosis and mainly engaged in phagocytic engulfment of postsynaptic mGluR6 of rod bipolar cells (RBCs). Complement pathway might be involved in clearance of postsynaptic elements of RBCs by microglia. We pharmacologically deleted microglia using a CSF1 receptor (CSF1R) inhibitor to confirm this finding, and found that it caused the accumulation of postsynaptic mGluR6 levels and increased the number and length of ectopic dendrites in the RBCs. Interestingly, the numbers of presynaptic sites expressing CtBP2 and colocalized puncta in the OPL of RCS rats were not affected by microglia elimination. However, sustained microglial depletion led to progressive functional deterioration in the retinal responses to light in RCS rats. Based on our results, microglia mediated the remodeling of RBCs by phagocytosing postsynaptic materials and inhibiting ectopic neuritogenesis, contributing to delay the deterioration of vision at the early stage of RP.

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