Exacerbation of C1q dysregulation, synaptic loss and memory deficits in tau pathology linked to neuronal adenosine A2A receptor.
Accumulating data support the role of tau pathology in cognitive decline in ageing and Alzheimer's disease, but underlying mechanisms remain ill-defined. Interestingly, ageing and Alzheimer's disease have been associated with an abnormal upregulation of adenosine A2A receptor (A2AR), a fine tuner of synaptic plasticity. However, the link between A2AR signalling and tau pathology has remained largely unexplored. In the present study, we report for the first time a significant upregulation of A2AR in patients suffering from frontotemporal lobar degeneration with the MAPT P301L mutation. To model these alterations, we induced neuronal A2AR upregulation in a tauopathy mouse model (THY-Tau22) using a new conditional strain allowing forebrain overexpression of the receptor. We found that neuronal A2AR upregulation increases tau hyperphosphorylation, potentiating the onset of tau-induced memory deficits. This detrimental effect was linked to a singular microglial signature as revealed by RNA sequencing analysis. In particular, we found that A2AR overexpression in THY-Tau22 mice led to the hippocampal upregulation of C1q complement protein-also observed in patients with frontotemporal lobar degeneration-and correlated with the loss of glutamatergic synapses, likely underlying the observed memory deficits. These data reveal a key impact of overactive neuronal A2AR in the onset of synaptic loss in tauopathies, paving the way for new therapeutic approaches.