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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Microglia proliferation is regulated by hydrogen peroxide from NADPH oxidase.

Microglia are resident brain macrophages that become activated and proliferate following brain damage or stimulation by immune mediators, such as IL-1beta or TNF-alpha. We investigated the mechanisms by which microglial proliferation is regulated in primary cultures of rat glia. We found that basal proliferation of microglia was stimulated by proinflammatory cytokines IL-1beta or TNF-alpha, and this proliferation was completely inhibited by catalase, implicating hydrogen peroxide as a mediator of proliferation. In addition, inhibitors of NADPH oxidase (diphenylene iodonium or apocynin) also prevented microglia proliferation, suggesting that this may be the source of hydrogen peroxide. IL-1beta and TNF-alpha rapidly stimulated the rate of hydrogen peroxide produced by isolated microglia, and this was inhibited by diphenylene iodonium, implying that the cytokines were acting directly on microglia to stimulate the NADPH oxidase. Low concentrations of PMA or arachidonic acid (known activators of NADPH oxidase) or xanthine/xanthine oxidase or glucose oxidase (generating hydrogen peroxide) also increased microglia proliferation and this was blocked by catalase, showing that NADPH oxidase activation or hydrogen peroxide was sufficient to stimulate microglia proliferation. In contrast to microglia, the proliferation of astrocytes was unaffected by the presence of catalase. In conclusion, these findings indicate that microglial proliferation in response to IL-1beta or TNF-alpha is mediated by hydrogen peroxide from NADPH oxidase.[1]


  1. Microglia proliferation is regulated by hydrogen peroxide from NADPH oxidase. Mander, P.K., Jekabsone, A., Brown, G.C. J. Immunol. (2006) [Pubmed]
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