Inhibition of 2-arachidonoylglycerol degradation enhances glial immunity by single-cell transcriptomic analysis

  • Dexiao Zhu (Creator)
  • Jian Zhang (Creator)
  • Jack Hashem (Creator)
  • Fei Gao (Creator)
  • Chu Chen (Creator)
  • Dexiao Zhu (Creator)
  • Chu Chen (Creator)



Abstract Background 2-Arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) is the most abundant endogenous cannabinoid. Inhibition of 2-AG metabolism by inactivation of monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL), the primary enzyme that degrades 2-AG in the brain, produces anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects in neurodegenerative diseases. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying these beneficial effects are largely unclear. Methods Hippocampal and cortical cells were isolated from cell type-specific MAGL knockout (KO) mice. Single-cell RNA sequencing was performed by 10 × Genomics platform. Cell Ranger, Seurat (v3.2) and CellChat (1.1.3) packages were used to carry out data analysis. Results Using single-cell RNA sequencing analysis, we show here that cell type-specific MAGL KO mice display distinct gene expression profiles in the brain. Inactivation of MAGL results in robust changes in expression of immune- and inflammation-related genes in microglia and astrocytes. Remarkably, upregulated expression of chemokines in microglia is more pronounced in mice lacking MAGL in astrocytes. In addition, expression of genes that regulate other cellular functions and Wnt signaling in astrocytes is altered in MAGL KO mice. Conclusions Our results provide transcriptomic evidence that cell type-specific inactivation of MAGL induces differential expression of immune-related genes and other fundamental cellular pathways in microglia and astrocytes. Upregulation of the immune/inflammatory genes suggests that tonic levels of immune/inflammatory vigilance are enhanced in microglia and astrocytes, particularly in microglia, by inhibition of 2-AG metabolism, which likely contribute to anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects produced by inactivation of MAGL in neurodegenerative diseases.
Date made available2023

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