It is widely believed that the inflammatory events mediated by microglial activation contribute to several neurodegenerative processes. Alzheimer's disease, for example, is characterized by an accumulation of β-amyloid protein (Aβ) in neuritic plaques that are infiltrated by reactive microglia and astrocytes. Although Aβ and its fragment 25-35 exert a direct toxic effect on neurons, they also activate microglia. Microglial activation is accompanied by morphological changes, cell proliferation, and release of various cytokines and growth factors. A number of scientific reports suggest that the increased proliferation of microglial cells is dependent on ionic membrane currents and in particular on chloride conductances. An unusual chloride ion channel known to be associated with macrophage activation is the chloride intracellular channel-1 (CLIC1). Here we show that Aβ stimulation of neonatal rat microglia specifically leads to the increase in CLIC1 protein and to the functional expression of CLIC1 chloride conductance, both barely detectable on the plasma membrane of quiescent cells. CLIC1 protein expression in microglia increases after 24 hr of incubation with Aβ, simultaneously with the production of reactive nitrogen intermediates and of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α). We demonstrate that reducing CLIC1 chloride conductance by a specific blocker [IAA-94 (R(+)-[(6,7-dichloro-2-cyclopentyl-2,3-dihydro-2-methyl-1-oxo-1H-inden-5yl)-oxy] acetic acid)] prevents neuronal apoptosis in neurons cocultured with Aβ-treated microglia. Furthermore, we show that small interfering RNAs used to knock down CLIC1 expression prevent TNF-α release induced by Aβ stimulation. These results provide a direct link between Aβ-induced microglial activation and CLIC1 functional expression.
Novarino, G. (2004). Involvement of the Intracellular Ion Channel CLIC1 in Microglia-Mediated -Amyloid-Induced Neurotoxicity. Journal of Neuroscience, 24(23), 5322–5330. https://doi.org/10.1523/jneurosci.1170-04.2004