Microglia monitor and protect neuronal function through specialized somatic purinergic junctions

Csaba Cserép, Balázs Pósfai, Nikolett Lénárt, Rebeka Fekete, Zsófia I. László, Zsolt Lele, Barbara Orsolits, Gábor Molnár, Steffanie Heindl, Anett D. Schwarcz, Katinka Ujvári, Zsuzsanna Környei, Krisztina Tóth, Eszter Szabadits, Beáta Sperlágh, Mária Baranyi, László Csiba, Tibor Hortobágyi, Zsófia Maglóczky, Bernadett MartineczGábor Szabó, Ferenc Erdélyi, Róbert Szipocs, Michael M. Tamkun, Benno Gesierich, Marco Duering, István Katona, Arthur Liesz, Gábor Tamás, Ádám Dénes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

273 Citations (Scopus)


Microglia are the main immune cells in the brain and have roles in brain homeostasis and neurological diseases. Mechanisms underlying microglia-neuron communication remain elusive. Here, we identified an interaction site between neuronal cell bodies and microglial processes in mouse and human brain. Somatic microglia-neuron junctions have a specialized nanoarchitecture optimized for purinergic signaling. Activity of neuronal mitochondria was linked with microglial junction formation, which was induced rapidly in response to neuronal activation and blocked by inhibition of P2Y12 receptors. Brain injury-induced changes at somatic junctions triggered P2Y12 receptor-dependent microglial neuroprotection, regulating neuronal calcium load and functional connectivity. Thus, microglial processes at these junctions could potentially monitor and protect neuronal functions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)528-537
Number of pages10
Issue number6477
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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