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FEBS letters

Tumour necrosis factor alpha-induced neuronal loss is mediated by microglial phagocytosis.


PMID 24911209

Abstract

Tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) is a pro-inflammatory cytokine, expressed in many brain pathologies and associated with neuronal loss. We show here that addition of TNF-α to neuronal-glial co-cultures increases microglial proliferation and phagocytosis, and results in neuronal loss that is prevented by eliminating microglia. Blocking microglial phagocytosis by inhibiting phagocytic vitronectin and P2Y6 receptors, or genetically removing opsonin MFG-E8, prevented TNF-α induced loss of live neurons. Thus TNF-α appears to induce neuronal loss via microglial activation and phagocytosis of neurons, causing neuronal death by phagoptosis.