GPR18, still considered an orphan receptor, may respond to endocannabinoids, whose canonical receptors are CB1 and CB2. GPR18 and CB2 receptors share a role in peripheral immune response regulation and are co-expressed in microglia, which are immunocompetent cells in the central nervous system (CNS). We aimed at identifying heteroreceptor complexes formed by GPR18 and CB1R or CB2R in resting and activated microglia. Receptor-receptor interaction was assessed using energy-transfer approaches, and receptor function by determining cAMP levels and ERK1/2 phosphorylation in heterologous cells and primary cultures of microglia. Heteroreceptor identification in primary cultures of microglia was achieved by in situ proximity ligation assays. Energy transfer results showed interaction of GPR18 with CB2R but not with CB1R. CB2-GPR18 heteroreceptor complexes displayed particular functional properties (heteromer prints) often consisting of negative cross-talk (activation of one receptor reduces signaling arising from the partner receptor) and cross-antagonism (the response of one of the receptors is blocked by a selective antagonist of the partner receptor). Activated microglia showed the heteromer print (negative cross-talk and bidirectional cross-antagonism) and increased expression of CB2R and GPR18. Due to the important role of CB2R in neuroprotection, we further investigated heteroreceptor occurrence in primary cultures of microglia from transgenic mice overexpressing human APPSw,Ind, an Alzheimer’s disease model. Microglial cells from transgenic mice showed the heteromer print and functional interactions that were similar to those found in cells from wild-type animals that were activated by treatment with lipopolysaccharide and interferon-ɤ. Our results show that GPR18 and its heteromers may play important roles in neurodegenerative processes.

Más Información: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29870711