Convergence between Microglia and Peripheral Macrophages Phenotype during Development and Neuroinflammation.
ABSTRACT: Differently from other myeloid cells, microglia derive exclusively from precursors originating within the yolk sac and migrate to the CNS under development, without any contribution from fetal liver or postnatal hematopoiesis. Consistent with their unique ontology, microglia may express specific physiological markers, which have been partly described in recent years. Here we wondered whether profiles distinguishing microglia from peripheral macrophages vary with age and under pathology. To this goal, we profiled transcriptomes of microglia throughout the lifespan and included a parallel comparison with peripheral macrophages under physiological and neuroinflammatory settings using age- and sex-matched wild-type and bone marrow chimera mouse models. This comprehensive approach demonstrated that the phenotypic differentiation between microglia and peripheral macrophages is age-dependent and that peripheral macrophages do express some of the most commonly described microglia-specific markers early during development, such as Fcrls, P2ry12, Tmem119, and Trem2. Further, during chronic neuroinflammation CNS-infiltrating macrophages and not peripheral myeloid cells acquire microglial markers, indicating that the CNS niche may instruct peripheral myeloid cells to gain the phenotype and, presumably, the function of the microglia cell. In conclusion, our data provide further evidence about the plasticity of the myeloid cell and suggest caution in the strict definition and application of microglia-specific markers.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Understanding the respective role of microglia and infiltrating monocytes in neuroinflammatory conditions has recently seemed possible by the identification of a specific microglia signature. Here instead we provide evidence that peripheral macrophages may express some of the most commonly described microglia markers at some developmental stages or pathological conditions, in particular during chronic neuroinflammation. Further, our data support the hypothesis about phenotypic plasticity and convergence among distinct myeloid cells so that they may act as a functional unit rather than as different entities, boosting their mutual functions in different phases of disease. This holds relevant implications in the view of the growing use of myeloid cell therapies to treat brain disease in humans.
Project description:BACKGROUND:In the healthy central nervous system (CNS), microglia are found in a homeostatic state and peripheral macrophages are absent from the brain. Microglia play key roles in maintaining CNS homeostasis and acting as first responders to infection and inflammation, and peripheral macrophages infiltrate the CNS during neuroinflammation. Due to their distinct origins and functions, discrimination between these cell populations is essential to the comprehension of neuroinflammatory disorders. Studies comparing the gene profiles of microglia and peripheral macrophages, or macrophages in vitro-derived from bone marrow, under non-infectious conditions of the CNS, have revealed valuable microglial-specific genes. However, studies comparing gene profiles between CNS-infiltrating macrophages and microglia, when both are isolated from the CNS during viral-induced neuroinflammation, are lacking. METHODS:We isolated, via flow cytometry, microglia and infiltrating macrophages from the brains of Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus-infected C57BL/6?J mice and used RNA-Seq, followed by validation with qPCR, to examine the differential transcriptional profiles of these cells. We utilized primary literature defining subcellular localization to determine whether or not particular proteins extracted from the transcriptional profiles were expressed at the cell surface. The surface expression and cellular specificity of triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 1 (TREM-1) protein were examined via flow cytometry. We also examined the immune response gene profile within the transcriptional profiles of these isolated microglia and infiltrating macrophages. RESULTS:We have identified and validated new microglial- and macrophage-specific genes, encoding cell surface proteins, expressed at the peak of neuroinflammation. TREM-1 protein was confirmed to be expressed by infiltrating macrophages, not microglia, at the peak of neuroinflammation. We also identified both unique and redundant immune functions, through examination of the immune response gene profiles, of microglia and infiltrating macrophages during neurotropic viral infection. CONCLUSIONS:The differential expression of cell surface-specific genes during neuroinflammation can potentially be used to discriminate between microglia and macrophages as well as provide a resource that can be further utilized to target and manipulate specific cell responses during neuroinflammation.
Project description:Understanding the respective role of microglia and infiltrating monocytes in neuroinflammatory conditions has recently seemed possible by the identification of a specific microglia signature. Here instead we provide evidence that peripheral macrophages may express some of the most commonly described microglia markers at some developmental stages or pathological conditions, in particular during chronic neuroinflammation. Further, our data support the hypothesis about phenotypic plasticity and convergence among distinct myeloid cells so that they may act as a functional unit rather than as different entities, boosting their mutual functions in different phases of disease. This holds relevant implications in the view of the growing use of myeloid cell therapies to treat brain disease in humans.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Chronic alcohol consumption is associated with neuroinflammation, neuronal damage, and behavioral alterations including addiction. Alcohol-induced neuroinflammation is characterized by increased expression of proinflammatory cytokines (including TNF?, IL-1?, and CCL2) and microglial activation. We hypothesized chronic alcohol consumption results in peripheral immune cell infiltration to the CNS. Since chemotaxis through the CCL2-CCR2 signaling axis is critical for macrophage recruitment peripherally and centrally, we further hypothesized that blockade of CCL2 signaling using the dual CCR2/5 inhibitor cenicriviroc (CVC) would prevent alcohol-induced CNS infiltration of peripheral macrophages and alter the neuroinflammatory state in the brain after chronic alcohol consumption. METHODS:C57BL/6J female mice were fed an isocaloric or 5% (v/v) ethanol Lieber DeCarli diet for 6 weeks. Some mice received daily injections of CVC. Microglia and infiltrating macrophages were characterized and quantified by flow cytometry and visualized using CX3CR1eGFP/+ CCR2RFP/+ reporter mice. The effect of ethanol and CVC treatment on the expression of inflammatory genes was evaluated in various regions of the brain, using a Nanostring nCounter inflammation panel. Microglia activation was analyzed by immunofluorescence. CVC-treated and untreated mice were presented with the two-bottle choice test. RESULTS:Chronic alcohol consumption induced microglia activation and peripheral macrophage infiltration in the CNS, particularly in the hippocampus. Treatment with CVC abrogated ethanol-induced recruitment of peripheral macrophages and partially reversed microglia activation. Furthermore, the expression of proinflammatory markers was upregulated by chronic alcohol consumption in various regions of the brain, including the cortex, hippocampus, and cerebellum. Inhibition of CCR2/5 decreased alcohol-mediated expression of inflammatory markers. Finally, microglia function was impaired by chronic alcohol consumption and restored by CVC treatment. CVC treatment did not change the ethanol consumption or preference of mice in the two-bottle choice test. CONCLUSIONS:Together, our data establish that chronic alcohol consumption promotes the recruitment of peripheral macrophages into the CNS and microglia alterations through the CCR2/5 axis. Therefore, further exploration of the CCR2/5 axis as a modulator of neuroinflammation may offer a potential therapeutic approach for the treatment of alcohol-associated neuroinflammation.
Project description:Two different macrophage populations contribute to CNS neuroinflammation: CNS-resident microglia and CNS-infiltrating peripheral macrophages. Markers distinguishing these two populations in tissue sections have not been identified. Therefore, we compared gene expression between LPS (lipopolysaccharide)/interferon (IFN)gamma-treated microglia from neonatal mixed glial cultures and similarly treated peritoneal macrophages. Fifteen molecules were identified by quantative PCR (qPCR) as being enriched from 2-fold to 250-fold in cultured neonatal microglia when compared with peritoneal macrophages. Only three of these molecules (C1qA, Trem2, and CXCL14) were found by qPCR to be also enriched in adult microglia isolated from LPS/IFNgamma-injected CNS when compared with infiltrating peripheral macrophages from the same CNS. The discrepancy between the in vitro and in vivo qPCR data sets was primarily because of induced expression of the 'microglial' molecules (such as the tolerance associated transcript, Tmem176b) in CNS-infiltrating macrophages. Bioinformatic analysis of the approximately 19000 mRNAs detected by TOGA gene profiling confirmed that LPS/IFNgamma-activated microglia isolated from adult CNS displayed greater similarity in total gene expression to CNS-infiltrating macrophages than to microglia isolated from unmanipulated healthy adult CNS. In situ hybridization analysis revealed that nearly all microglia expressed high levels of C1qA, while subsets of microglia expressed Trem2 and CXCL14. Expression of C1qA and Trem2 was limited to microglia, while large numbers of GABA+ neurons expressed CXCL14. These data suggest that (i) CNS-resident microglia are heterogeneous and thus a universal microglia-specific marker may not exist; (ii) the CNS micro-environment plays significant roles in determining the phenotypes of both CNS-resident microglia and CNS-infiltrating macrophages; (iii) the CNS microenvironment may contribute to immune privilege by inducing macrophage expression of anti-inflammatory molecules.
Project description:Neuroinflammation is the response of the central nervous system (CNS) to disturbed homeostasis and typifies all neurological diseases. The main reactive components of the CNS include microglial cells and infiltrating myeloid cells, astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, and the blood-brain barrier, cytokines, and cytokine signaling. Neuroinflammatory responses may be helpful or harmful, as mechanisms associated with neuroinflammation are involved in normal brain development, as well as in neuropathological processes. This review examines the roles of various cell types that contribute to the immune dysregulation associated with neuroinflammation. Microglia enter the CNS very early in embryonic development and, as such, play an essential role in both the healthy and diseased brain. B-cell diversity contributes to CNS disease through both antibody-dependent and antibody-independent mechanisms. The influences of these B-cell mechanisms on other cell types, including myeloid cells and T cells, are reviewed in relationship to antibody-mediated CNS disorders, paraneoplastic neurological diseases, and multiple sclerosis. New insights into neuroinflammation offer exciting opportunities to investigate potential therapeutic targets for debilitating CNS diseases.
Project description:Microglia serve as the innate immune cells of the central nervous system (CNS) by providing continuous surveillance of the CNS microenvironment and initiating defense mechanisms to protect CNS tissue. Upon injury, microglia transition into an activated state altering their transcriptional profile, transforming their morphology, and producing pro-inflammatory cytokines. These activated microglia initially serve a beneficial role, but their continued activation drives neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration. Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, inflammatory, demyelinating disease of the CNS, and activated microglia and macrophages play a significant role in mediating disease pathophysiology and progression. Colony-stimulating factor-1 receptor (CSF1R) and its ligand CSF1 are elevated in CNS tissue derived from MS patients. We performed a large-scale RNA-sequencing experiment and identified CSF1R as a key node of disease progression in a mouse model of progressive MS. We hypothesized that modulating microglia and infiltrating macrophages through the inhibition of CSF1R will attenuate deleterious CNS inflammation and reduce subsequent demyelination and neurodegeneration. To test this hypothesis, we generated a novel potent and selective small-molecule CSF1R inhibitor (sCSF1Rinh) for preclinical testing. sCSF1Rinh blocked receptor phosphorylation and downstream signaling in both microglia and macrophages and altered cellular functions including proliferation, survival, and cytokine production. In vivo, CSF1R inhibition with sCSF1Rinh attenuated neuroinflammation and reduced microglial proliferation in a murine acute LPS model. Furthermore, the sCSF1Rinh attenuated a disease-associated microglial phenotype and blocked both axonal damage and neurological impairments in an experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) model of MS. While previous studies have focused on microglial depletion following CSF1R inhibition, our data clearly show that signaling downstream of this receptor can be beneficially modulated in the context of CNS injury. Together, these data suggest that CSF1R inhibition can reduce deleterious microglial proliferation and modulate microglial phenotypes during neuroinflammatory pathogenesis, particularly in progressive MS.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Microglia are resident macrophages of the central nervous system (CNS) locally maintained through colony-stimulating factor 1 receptor (CSF1R) signaling. Microglial depletion via CSF1R inactivation improves cognition in mouse models of neuroinflammation, but limits virologic control in the CNS of mouse models of neurotropic infections by unknown mechanisms. We hypothesize that CSF1R plays a critical role in myeloid cell responses that restrict viral replication and locally restimulate recruited antiviral T cells within the CNS. METHODS:The impact of CSF1R signaling during West Nile virus infection was assessed in vivo using a mouse model of neurotropic infection. Pharmacological inactivation of CSF1R was achieved using PLX5622 prior to infection with virulent or attenuated strains of West Nile virus (WNV), an emerging neuropathogen. The subsequent effect of CSF1R antagonism on virologic control was assessed by measuring mortality and viral titers in the CNS and peripheral organs. Immune responses were assessed by flow cytometric-based phenotypic analyses of both peripheral and CNS immune cells. RESULTS:Mice treated with CSF1R antagonist prior to infection exhibited higher susceptibility to lethal WNV infection and lack of virologic control in both the CNS and periphery. CSFR1 antagonism reduced B7 co-stimulatory signals on peripheral and CNS antigen-presenting cells (APCs) by depleting CNS cellular sources, which limited local reactivation of CNS-infiltrating virus-specific T cells and reduced viral clearance. CONCLUSIONS:Our results demonstrate the impact of CSF1R antagonism on APC activation in the CNS and periphery and the importance of microglia in orchestrating the CNS immune response following neurotropic viral infection. These data will be an important consideration when assessing the benefit of CSF1R antagonism, which has been investigated as a therapeutic for neurodegenerative conditions, in which neuroinflammation is a contributing factor.
Project description:Microglia are resident immune cells of the CNS that are activated by infection, neuronal injury, and inflammation. Here, we utilize flow cytometry and deep RNA sequencing of acutely isolated spinal cord microglia to define their activation in vivo. Analysis of resting microglia identified 29 genes that distinguish microglia from other CNS cells and peripheral macrophages/monocytes. We then analyzed molecular changes in microglia during neurodegenerative disease activation using the SOD1(G93A) mouse model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). We found that SOD1(G93A) microglia are not derived from infiltrating monocytes, and that both potentially neuroprotective and toxic factors, including Alzheimer's disease genes, are concurrently upregulated. Mutant microglia differed from SOD1(WT), lipopolysaccharide-activated microglia, and M1/M2 macrophages, defining an ALS-specific phenotype. Concurrent messenger RNA/fluorescence-activated cell sorting analysis revealed posttranscriptional regulation of microglia surface receptors and T cell-associated changes in the transcriptome. These results provide insights into microglia biology and establish a resource for future studies of neuroinflammation.
Project description:Microglia and infiltrating macrophages are thought to orchestrate the central nervous system (CNS) response to injury; however, the similarities between these cells make it challenging to distinguish their relative contributions. We genetically labeled microglia and CNS-associated macrophages to distinguish them from infiltrating macrophages. Using single-cell RNA sequencing, we describe multiple microglia activation states, one of which was enriched for interferon associated signaling. Although blood-derived macrophages acutely infiltrated the demyelinated lesion, microglia progressively monopolized the lesion environment where they surrounded infiltrating macrophages. In the microglia-devoid sciatic nerve, the infiltrating macrophage response was sustained. In the CNS, the preferential proliferation of microglia and sparse microglia death contributed to microglia dominating the lesion. Microglia ablation reversed the spatial restriction of macrophages with the demyelinated spinal cord, highlighting an unrealized macrophages-microglia interaction. The restriction of peripheral inflammation by microglia may be a previously unidentified mechanism by which the CNS maintains its "immune privileged" status.
Project description:Mutations in the enzyme superoxide dismutase-1 (SOD1) cause hereditary variants of the fatal motor neuronal disease Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Pathophysiology of the disease is non-cell-autonomous: neurotoxicity is derived not only from mutant motor neurons but also from mutant neighbouring non-neuronal cells. In vivo imaging by two-photon laser-scanning microscopy was used to compare the role of microglia/macrophage-related neuroinflammation in the CNS and PNS using ALS-linked transgenic SOD1(G93A) mice. These mice contained labeled projection neurons and labeled microglia/macrophages. In the affected lateral spinal cord (in contrast to non-affected dorsal columns), different phases of microglia-mediated inflammation were observed: highly reactive microglial cells in preclinical stages (in 60-day-old mice the reaction to axonal transection was ?180% of control) and morphologically transformed microglia that have lost their function of tissue surveillance and injury-directed response in clinical stages (reaction to axonal transection was lower than 50% of control). Furthermore, unlike CNS microglia, macrophages of the PNS lack any substantial morphological reaction while preclinical degeneration of peripheral motor axons and neuromuscular junctions was observed. We present in vivo evidence for a different inflammatory activity of microglia and macrophages: an aberrant neuroinflammatory response of microglia in the CNS and an apparently mainly neurodegenerative process in the PNS.