Cellular and molecular neurobiology

FK506 Attenuates the Inflammation in Rat Spinal Cord Injury by Inhibiting the Activation of NF-κB in Microglia Cells.

PMID 27572744


FK-506 (Tacrolimus) is a very commonly used immunomodulatory agent that plays important roles in modulating the calcium-dependent phosphoserine-phosphothreonine protein phosphatase calcineurin and thus inhibits calcineurin-mediated secondary neuronal damage. The biological function of FK-506 in the spinal cord has not been fully elucidated. To clarify the anti-inflammatory action of FK-506 in spinal cord injury (SCI), we performed an acute spinal cord contusion injury model in adult rats and hypoxia-treated primary spinal cord microglia cultures. This work studied the activation of NF-κB and proinflammatory cytokine (TNF-a, IL-1b, and IL-6) expression. ELISA and q-PCR analysis revealed that TNF-a, IL-1b, and IL-6 levels significantly increased 3 days after spinal cord contusion and decreased after 14 days, accompanied by the increased activation of NF-κB. This increase was reversed by an FK-506 treatment. Double immunofluorescence labeling suggested that NF-κB activation was especially prominent in microglia. Immunohistochemistry confirmed no alteration in the number of microglia. Moreover, the results in hypoxia-treated primary spinal cord microglia confirmed the effect of FK-506 on TNF-a, IL-1b, and IL-6 expression and NF-κB activation. These findings suggest that FK-506 may be involved in microglial activation after SCI.

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