Differential Contribution of THIK-1 K+ Channels and P2X7 Receptors to ATP-Mediated Neuroinflammation by Human Microglia


Journal of Neuroinflammation 21, no. 1 (2024): 1–17


Rifat, Ali, Bernardino Ossola, Roland W. Bürli, Lee A. Dawson, Nicola L. Brice, Anna Rowland, Marina Lizio, et al.



Neuroinflammation is highly influenced by microglia, particularly through activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome and subsequent release of IL-1β. Extracellular ATP is a strong activator of NLRP3 by inducing K+ efflux as a key signaling event, suggesting that K+-permeable ion channels could have high therapeutic potential. In microglia, these include ATP-gated THIK-1 K+ channels and P2X7 receptors, but their interactions and potential therapeutic role in the human brain are unknown. Using a novel specific inhibitor of THIK-1 in combination with patch-clamp electrophysiology in slices of human neocortex, we found that THIK-1 generated the main tonic K+ conductance in microglia that sets the resting membrane potential. Extracellular ATP stimulated K+ efflux in a concentration-dependent manner only via P2X7 and metabotropic potentiation of THIK-1. We further demonstrated that activation of P2X7 was mandatory for ATP-evoked IL-1β release, which was strongly suppressed by blocking THIK-1. Surprisingly, THIK-1 contributed only marginally to the total K+ conductance in the presence of ATP, which was dominated by P2X7. This suggests a previously unknown, K+-independent mechanism of THIK-1 for NLRP3 activation. Nuclear sequencing revealed almost selective expression of THIK-1 in human brain microglia, while P2X7 had a much broader expression. Thus, inhibition of THIK-1 could be an effective and, in contrast to P2X7, microglia-specific therapeutic strategy to contain neuroinflammation.

Keywords: Q1 2024

Go to journal

Get in Touch

We strive to provide the best for our customers, and we are always ready to help. Please let us know if you have a question for us.

Follow us