Knockout of the P2Y6 Receptor Prevents Peri-Infarct Neuronal Loss after Transient, Focal Ischemia in Mouse Brain.
After stroke, there is a delayed neuronal loss in brain areas surrounding the infarct, which may in part be mediated by microglial phagocytosis of stressed neurons. Microglial phagocytosis of stressed or damaged neurons can be mediated by UDP released from stressed neurons activating the P2Y6 receptor on microglia, inducing microglial phagocytosis of such neurons. We show evidence here from a small trial that the knockout of the P2Y6 receptor, required for microglial phagocytosis of neurons, prevents the delayed neuronal loss after transient, focal brain ischemia induced by endothelin-1 injection in mice. Wild-type mice had neuronal loss and neuronal nuclear material within microglia in peri-infarct areas. P2Y6 receptor knockout mice had no significant neuronal loss in peri-infarct brain areas seven days after brain ischemia. Thus, delayed neuronal loss after stroke may in part be mediated by microglial phagocytosis of stressed neurons, and the P2Y6 receptor is a potential treatment target to prevent peri-infarct neuronal loss.