Myeloid C/EBPβ deficiency reshapes microglial gene expression and is protective in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis.
ABSTRACT: CCAAT/enhancer binding protein β (C/EBPβ) is a transcription factor that regulates the expression of important pro-inflammatory genes in microglia. Mice deficient for C/EBPβ show protection against excitotoxic and ischemic CNS damage, but the involvement in this neuroprotective effect of the various C/EBPβ-expressing cell types is not solved. Since C/EBPβ-deficient microglia show attenuated neurotoxicity in culture, we hypothesized that specific C/EBPβ deficiency in microglia could be neuroprotective in vivo. In this study, we have tested this hypothesis by generating mice with myeloid C/EBPβ deficiency.Mice with myeloid C/EBPβ deficiency were generated by crossing LysMCre and C/EBPβfl/fl mice. Primary microglial cultures from C/EBPβfl/fl and LysMCre-C/EBPβfl/fl mice were treated with lipopolysaccharide ± interferon γ (IFNγ) for 6 h, and gene expression was analyzed by RNA sequencing. Gene expression and C/EBPβ deletion were analyzed in vivo in microglia isolated from the brains of C/EBPβfl/fl and LysMCre-C/EBPβfl/fl mice treated systemically with lipolysaccharide or vehicle. Mice of LysMCre-C/EBPβfl/fl or control genotypes were subjected to experimental autoimmune encephalitis and analyzed for clinical signs for 52 days. One- or two-way ANOVA or Kruskal-Wallis with their appropriate post hoc tests were used.LysMCre-C/EBPβfl/fl mice showed an efficiency of C/EBPβ deletion in microglia of 100 and 90% in vitro and in vivo, respectively. These mice were devoid of female infertility, perinatal mortality and reduced lifespan that are associated to full C/EBPβ deficiency. Transcriptomic analysis of C/EBPβ-deficient primary microglia revealed C/EBPβ-dependent expression of 1068 genes, significantly enriched in inflammatory and innate immune responses GO terms. In vivo, microglial expression of the pro-inflammatory genes Cybb, Ptges, Il23a, Tnf and Csf3 induced by systemic lipopolysaccharide injection was also blunted by C/EBPβ deletion. CNS expression of C/EBPβ was upregulated in experimental autoimmune encephalitis and in multiple sclerosis samples. Finally, LysMCre-C/EBPβfl/fl mice showed robust attenuation of clinical signs in experimental autoimmune encephalitis.This study provides new data that support a central role for C/EBPβ in the biology of activated microglia, and it offers proof of concept for the therapeutic potential of microglial C/EBPβ inhibition in multiple sclerosis.
Project description:CCAAT/enhancer binding protein β (C/EBPβ) is a transcription factor that regulates the expression of important pro-inflammatory genes in microglia. Mice deficient for C/EBPβ show protection against excitotoxic and ischemic CNS damage but the involvement of the various C/EBPβ expressing cell types in this neuroprotective effect is not solved. Since C/EBPβ-deficient microglia show attenuated neurotoxicity in culture we hypothesized that specific C/EBPβ deficiency in microglia could be neuroprotective in vivo. In this study we have tested this hypothesis by generating mice with myeloid C/EBPβ deficiency. Mice with myeloid C/EBPβ deficiency were generated by crossing LysMCre and C/EBPβfl/fl mice . Primary microglial cultures from C/EBPβfl/fl (named here as WT) and LysMCre-C/EBPβfl/fl (named here as KO) mice were treated with lipopolysaccharide ± interferon γ (IFNγ) for 6 h and gene expression was analyzed by RNA sequencing. LysMCre-C/EBPβfl/fl mice showed an efficiency of C/EBPβ deletion of 100% in cultured microglia. Transcriptomic analysis of C/EBPβ-deficient primary microglia revealed C/EBPβ-dependent expression of 1068 genes, significantly enriched in inflammatory and innate immune responses GO terms. This study provides new data that support a central role for C/EBPβ in the biology of activated microglia. Overall design: LysMCre-C/EBPβfl/fl genotype (12 samples): 4 samples treated with LPS, 4 with LPS +IFNg, and 4 vehicle. C/EBPβfl/fl genotype (9 samples): 3 samples treated with LPS, 3 with LPS +IFNg, and 3 vehicle. Design Case (Treatment LPS or LPS +INF) control (No treatment or vehicle) in LysMCre-C/EBPβfl/fl genotype and in C/EBPβfl/fl genotype
Project description:Among the pathogenic processes contributing to dopaminergic neuron (DN) death in Parkinson disease (PD), evidence points to non-cell-autonomous mechanisms, particularly chronic inflammation mounted by activated microglia. Yet little is known about endogenous regulatory processes that determine microglial actions in pathological states. We examined the role of glucocorticoid receptors (GRs), activated by glucocorticoids released in response to stress and known to regulate inflammation, in DN survival. Overall GR level was decreased in substantia nigra of PD patients and 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP)-intoxicated mice. GR changes, specifically in the microglia after MPTP treatment, revealed a rapid augmentation in the number of microglia displaying nuclear localization of GR. Mice with selective inactivation of the GR gene in macrophages/microglia (GR(LysMCre)) but not in DNs (GR(DATCre)) showed increased loss of DNs after MPTP intoxication. This DN loss in GR(LysMCre) mice was not prevented by corticosterone treatment, in contrast to the protection observed in control littermates. Moreover, absence of microglial GRs augmented microglial reactivity and led to their persistent activation. Analysis of inflammatory genes revealed an up-regulation of Toll-like receptors (TLRs) by MPTP treatment, particularly TLR9, the level of which was high in postmortem parkinsonian brains. The regulatory control of GR was reflected by higher expression of proinflammatory genes (e.g., TNF-?) with a concomitant decrease in anti-inflammatory genes (e.g., IL-1R2) in GR(LysMCre) mice. Indeed, in GR(LysMCre) mice, alterations in phosphorylated NF-?B levels indicated its protracted activation. Together, our data indicate that GR is important in curtailing microglial reactivity, and its deregulation in PD could lead to sustained inflammation-mediated DN injury.
Project description:Suppressor of cytokine signaling (SOCS) proteins are feedback inhibitors of the JAK/STAT pathway. SOCS3 has a crucial role in inhibiting STAT3 activation, cytokine signaling, and inflammatory gene expression in macrophages/microglia. To determine the role of SOCS3 in myeloid cells in neuroinflammation, mice with conditional SOCS3 deletion in myeloid cells (LysMCre-SOCS3(fl/fl)) were tested for experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). The myeloid-specific SOCS3-deficient mice are vulnerable to myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG)-induced EAE, with a severe, nonresolving atypical form of disease. In vivo, enhanced infiltration of inflammatory cells and demyelination is prominent in the cerebellum of myeloid-specific SOCS3-deficient mice, as is enhanced STAT3 signaling and expression of inflammatory cytokines/chemokines and an immune response dominated by Th1 and Th17 cells. In vitro, SOCS3-deficient macrophages exhibit heightened STAT3 activation and are polarized toward the classical M1 phenotype. SOCS3-deficient M1 macrophages provide the microenvironment to polarize Th1 and Th17 cells and induce neuronal death. Furthermore, adoptive transfer of M2 macrophages into myeloid SOCS3-deficient mice leads to delayed onset and reduced severity of atypical EAE by decreasing STAT3 activation, Th1/Th17 cells, and proinflammatory mediators in the cerebellum. These findings indicate that myeloid cell SOCS3 provides protection from EAE through deactivation of neuroinflammatory responses.
Project description:In multiple sclerosis plaques, oligodendroglial connexin (Cx) 47 constituting main gap junction channels with astroglial Cx43 is persistently lost. As mice with Cx47 single knockout exhibit no demyelination, the roles of Cx47 remain undefined. We aimed to clarify the effects of oligodendroglia-specific Cx47 inducible conditional knockout (icKO) on experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) induced by myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein peptide (MOG35-55) in PLP/CreERT;Cx47fl/fl mice at 14 d after tamoxifen injection. Cx47 icKO mice demonstrated exacerbation of acute and chronic relapsing EAE with more pronounced demyelination than Cx47 flox (fl)/fl littermates. CD3+ T cells more abundantly infiltrated the spinal cord in Cx47 icKO than in Cx47 fl/fl mice throughout the acute to chronic phases. CXCR3-CCR6+CD4+ and IL17+IFN?-CD4+ helper T (Th) 17 cells isolated from spinal cord and brain tissues were significantly increased in Cx47 icKO mice compared with Cx47 fl/fl mice, while MOG35-55-specific proliferation and proinflammatory cytokine production of splenocytes were unaltered. Microarray analysis of isolated microglia revealed stronger microglial activation toward proinflammatory and injury-response phenotypes with increased expressions of chemokines that can attract Th17 cells, including Ccl2, Ccl3, Ccl4, Ccl7, and Ccl8, in Cx47 icKO mice compared with Cx47 fl/fl mice. In Cx47 icKO mice, NOS2+ and MHC class II+ microglia were more enriched immunohistochemically, and A1-specific astroglial gene expressions and astroglia immunostained for C3, a representative A1 astrocyte marker, were significantly increased at the acute phase, compared with Cx47 fl/fl mice. These findings suggest that oligodendroglia-specific Cx47 ablation induces severe inflammation upon autoimmune demyelination, underscoring a critical role for Cx47 in regulating neuroinflammation.
Project description:The JAK/STAT pathway is critical for development, regulation, and termination of immune responses, and dysregulation of the JAK/STAT pathway, that is, hyperactivation, has pathological implications in autoimmune and neuroinflammatory diseases. Suppressor of cytokine signaling 3 (SOCS3) regulates STAT3 activation in response to cytokines that play important roles in the pathogenesis of neuroinflammatory diseases, including IL-6 and IL-23. We previously demonstrated that myeloid lineage-specific deletion of SOCS3 resulted in a severe, nonresolving atypical form of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), characterized by lesions, inflammatory infiltrates, elevated STAT activation, and elevated cytokine and chemokine expression in the cerebellum. Clinically, these mice exhibit ataxia and tremors. In this study, we provide a detailed analysis of this model, demonstrating that the atypical EAE observed in LysMCre-SOCS3(fl/fl) mice is characterized by extensive neutrophil infiltration into the cerebellum and brainstem, increased inducible NO synthase levels in the cerebellum and brainstem, and prominent axonal damage. Importantly, infiltrating SOCS3-deficient neutrophils produce high levels of CXCL2, CCL2, CXCL10, NO, TNF-?, and IL-1?. Kinetic studies demonstrate that neutrophil infiltration into the cerebellum and brainstem of LysMCre-SOCS3(fl/fl) mice closely correlates with atypical EAE clinical symptoms. Ab-mediated depletion of neutrophils converts the atypical phenotype to the classical EAE phenotype and, in some cases, a mixed atypical/classical phenotype. Blocking CXCR2 signaling ameliorates atypical EAE development by reducing neutrophil infiltration into the cerebellum/brainstem. Thus, neutrophils lacking SOCS3 display elevated STAT3 activation and expression of proinflammatory mediators and play a critical role in the development of atypical EAE.
Project description:IL-6 is required for the response of mice against Listeria monocytogenes. Control of infection depends on classical IL-6 signaling via membrane IL-6R?, but IL-6 target cells and protective mechanisms remain unclear. We used mice with IL-6R?-deficiency in T cells (Il6rafl/fl×CD4cre) or myeloid cells (Il6rafl/fl×LysMcre) to define the role of these cells in IL-6-mediated protection. Abrogation of IL-6R? in T cells did not interfere with bacteria control and induction of TH1 and CD8+ T-cell responses. IL-6R?-deficiency in myeloid cells caused significant defects in listeria control. This defect was not associated with reduced recruitment of granulocytes and inflammatory monocytes, and both cell populations were activated and not impaired in cytokine production. However, IL-6R?-deficient inflammatory monocytes displayed diminished expression of IL-4R? and of CD38, a protein required for phagocytosis and innate control of listeria. In vitro studies revealed that IL-4 and IL-6 cooperated in induction of CD38. In listeria-infected mice, phagocytic activity of inflammatory monocytes correlated with CD38 expression levels on cells and inflammatory monocytes of Il6rafl/fl×LysMcre mice were significantly impaired in phagocytosis. In conclusion, we demonstrate that inhibition of classical IL-6 signaling in myeloid cells causes alterations in differentiation and function of these cells, which subsequently prevent effective control of L. monocytogenes.
Project description:Neuron-microglia interactions have a crucial role in maintaining the neuroimmune system. The balance of neuroimmune system has emerged as an important process in the pathophysiology of depression. However, how neuron-microglia interactions contribute to major depressive disorders has been poorly understood. Herein, we demonstrated that microglia-derived synaptic changes induced antidepressive-like behavior by using microglia-specific signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) knockout (KO) (STAT3fl/fl;LysM-Cre+/-) mice. We found that microglia-specific STAT3 KO mice showed antidepressive-like behavior in the forced swim, tail suspension, sucrose preference, and open-field tests. Surprisingly, the secretion of macrophage colony-stimulating factor (M-CSF) was increased from neuronal cells in the brains of STAT3fl/fl;LysM-Cre+/- mice. Moreover, the phosphorylation of antidepressant-targeting mediators and brain-derived neurotrophic factor expression were increased in the brains of STAT3fl/fl;LysM-Cre+/- mice as well as in neuronal cells in response to M-CSF stimulation. Importantly, the miniature excitatory postsynaptic current frequency in the medial prefrontal cortex was increased in STAT3fl/fl;LysM-Cre+/- mice and in the M-CSF treatment group. Collectively, microglial STAT3 regulates depression-related behaviors via neuronal M-CSF-mediated synaptic activity, suggesting that inhibition of microglial STAT3 might be a new therapeutic strategy for depression.
Project description:Patients with dengue virus (DENV) infection may also present acute viral encephalitis through an unknown mechanism. Here, we report that encephalitic DENV-infected mice exhibited progressive hunchback posture, limbic seizures, limbic weakness, paralysis, and lethality 7 days post-infection. These symptoms were accompanied by CNS inflammation, neurotoxicity, and blood-brain barrier destruction. Microglial cells surrounding the blood vessels and injured hippocampus regions were activated by DENV infection. Pharmacologically depleting microglia unexpectedly increased viral replication, neuropathy, and mortality in DENV-infected mice. In microglia-depleted mice, the DENV infection-mediated expression of antiviral cytokines and the infiltration of CD8-positive cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) was abolished. DENV infection prompted the antigen-presenting cell-like differentiation of microglia, which in turn stimulated CTL proliferation and activation. These results suggest that microglial cells play a key role in facilitating antiviral immune responses against DENV infection and acute viral encephalitis.
Project description:Microglia are constantly surveying their microenvironment and rapidly react to impairments by changing their morphology, migrating toward stimuli and adopting gene expression profiles characterizing their activated state. The increased expression of the M2-like marker Mannose receptor 1 (Mrc1), which is also referred to as CD206, in microglia has been reported after M2-like activation in vitro and in vivo. Mrc1 is a 175-kDa transmembrane pattern recognition receptor which binds a variety of carbohydrates and is involved in the pinocytosis and the phagocytosis of immune cells, including microglia, and thought to contribute to a neuroprotective microglial phenotype. Here we analyzed the effects of TGF? signaling on Mrc1 expression in microglia in vivo and in vitro. Using C57BL/6 wild type and Cx3cr1 CreERT2 :R26-YFP:Tgfbr2 fl/fl mice-derived microglia, we show that the silencing of TGF? signaling results in the upregulation of Mrc1, whereas recombinant TGF?1 induced the delayed downregulation of Mrc1. Furthermore, chromatin immunoprecipitation experiments provided evidence that Mrc1 is not a direct Smad2/Smad4 target gene in microglia. Altogether our data indicate that the changes in Mrc1 expression after the activation or the silencing of microglial TGF? signaling are likely to be mediated by modifications of the secondary intracellular signaling events influenced by TGF? signaling.
Project description:Glial connexins (Cxs) form gap junction channels through which a pan-glial network plays key roles in maintaining homeostasis of the central nervous system (CNS). In multiple sclerosis (MS) and its animal model, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), expression of astrocytic Cx43 is lost in acute lesions but upregulated in chronic plaques, while astrocytic Cx30 is very low in normal white matter and changes in its expression have not been convincingly shown. In Cx30 or Cx43 single knockout (KO) mice and even in Cx30/Cx43 double KO mice, acute EAE is unaltered. However, the effects of Cx30/Cx43 deficiency on chronic EAE remains to be elucidated. We aimed to clarify the roles of Cx30 in chronic neuroinflammation by studying EAE induced by myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein peptide 35-55 in Cx30 KO mice. We found that Cx30 deficiency improved the clinical symptoms and demyelination of chronic but not acute EAE without influencing CD3+ T cell infiltration. Furthermore, increased ramified microglia in the naïve state and induced earlier and stronger microglial activation in the acute and chronic phases of EAE was observed. These activated microglia had an anti-inflammatory phenotype, as shown by the upregulation of arginase-1 and brain-derived neurotrophic factor and the downregulation of nitric oxide synthase 2. In the naïve state, Cx30 deficiency induced modest enlargement of astrocytic processes in the spinal cord gray matter and a partial reduction of Cx43 expression in the spinal cord white matter. These astrocytes in Cx30 KO mice showed earlier and stronger activation during the acute phase of EAE, with upregulated A2 astrocyte markers and a significant decrease in Cx43 in the chronic phases. Spinal cord neurons and axons were more preserved in Cx30 KO mice than in littermates in the chronic phase of EAE. These findings suggest that Cx30 deficiency increased ramified microglia in the CNS in the naïve state and improved chronic EAE through redirecting microglia toward an anti-inflammatory phenotype, suggesting a hitherto unknown critical role of astrocytic Cx30 in regulating microglial number and functional state.