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

Regulation of prostanoid synthesis in microglial cells and effects of prostaglandin E2 on microglial functions.

Brain prostanoid levels are normally low but can increase after ischemia and during inflammatory and infectious diseases. High prostanoid levels can affect brain function in several ways. In particular, prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) might exert both immunodepressive and proinflammatory actions. The present short review focuses on the regulation of prostanoid synthesis in microglial cultures and on the possible role of PGE2 in the down-regulation of microglial activation induced by lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Our studies were carried out using purified mouse or rat microglial cultures. LPS induced a dose-dependent expression of the inducible isoform of cyclooxygenase ( COX-2), both in neonatal and adult microglial cultures. In the latter, the inducibility of COX-2 increased with time in culture, paralleling the acquisition of a more 'activated' microglial phenotype, and appeared to account for the time-dependent increase in the PGE2/TXB2 production ratio. The LPS-induced COX-2 expression and prostanoid production were down-regulated by potentially neurotoxic agents, such as nitric oxide (NO), the proinflammatory cytokine IFN-gamma (which acted both directly and indirectly, through its NO-inducing activity) and the HIV regulatory protein tat. On the other hand, COX-2 expression was up-regulated by the macrophage- deactivating cytokine TGF-beta 1, by exogenous PGE2 itself, which acted through EP2 receptors linked to cyclic AMP generation, and by non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Interestingly, PGE2 utilized the same EP2 receptor-mediated signal transduction mechanism to down-regulate the expression of the inducible NO synthase and the production of NO. Largely, but not exclusively, through its effect on cyclic AMP, PGE2 can also: i) depress the expression of major histocompatibility complex class II antigens and of the costimulatory molecule B7-2; ii) down-regulate TNF and up-regulate IL-10 microglial production; iii) inhibit microglial IL-12 secretion. These observations, together with literature data on in vivo models of central nervous system (CNS) diseases, suggest a neuroprotective role of PGE2 in pathological conditions.[1]


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