Cellular physiology and biochemistry : international journal of experimental cellular physiology, biochemistry, and pharmacology

Activation of microglia by histamine and substance P.

PMID 25170632


Activated microglia perform many of the immune effector functions typically associated with macrophages. However, the regulators involved in microglial activation are not well defined. Because microglia play a pivotal role in immune surveillance of the CNS, we studied the effect of the neuromediators histamine and substance P on microglia. The induction of microglial activation by histamine and substance P was examined using primary cultured microglia. Fluorescent images were acquired with a confocal microscope. The levels of TNF-α and IL-6 were measured with a commercial ELISA kit. Intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels were determined by dichlorodihydrofluorescein oxidation. The mitochondrial membrane potential was assessed with the MitoProbe™ JC-1 assay kit. We found that the neuromediators histamine and substance P were able to stimulate microglial activation and the subsequent production of ROS and proinflammatory factors TNF-α and IL-6. These effects were partially abolished by antagonists of the histamine receptors H1 and H4 and of the substance P receptors NK-1, NK-2 and NK-3. Histamine induced mitochondrial membrane depolarization in microglia. These results indicate that the neuromediators histamine and SP can trigger microglial activation and release of pro-inflammatory factors from microglia, thus contributing to the development of microglia-mediated inflammation in the brain.