Journal of neuroinflammation

Responses of rat and mouse primary microglia to pro- and anti-inflammatory stimuli: molecular profiles, K

PMID 28830445


Acute CNS damage is commonly studied using rat and mouse models, but increasingly, molecular analysis is finding species differences that might affect the ability to translate findings to humans. Microglia can undergo complex molecular and functional changes, often studied by in vitro responses to discrete activating stimuli. There is considerable evidence that pro-inflammatory (M1) activation can exacerbate tissue damage, while anti-inflammatory (M2) states help resolve inflammation and promote tissue repair. However, in assessing potential therapeutic targets for controlling inflammation, it is crucial to determine whether rat and mouse microglia respond the same. Primary microglia from Sprague-Dawley rats and C57BL/6 mice were cultured, then stimulated with interferon-γ + tumor necrosis factor-α (I + T; M1 activation), interleukin (IL)-4 (M2a, alternative activation), or IL-10 (M2c, acquired deactivation). To profile their activation responses, NanoString was used to monitor messenger RNA (mRNA) expression of numerous pro- and anti-inflammatory mediators, microglial markers, immunomodulators, and other molecules. Western analysis was used to measure selected proteins. Two potential targets for controlling inflammation-inward- and outward-rectifier K Pro-inflammatory molecules increased after I + T treatment but there were several qualitative and quantitative differences between the species (e.g., iNOS and nitric oxide, COX-2). Several molecules commonly associated with an M2a state differed between species or they were induced in additional activation states (e.g., CD206, ARG1). Resting levels and/or responses of several microglial markers (Iba1, CD11b, CD68) differed with the activation state, species, or both. Transcripts for several Kir2 and Kv1 family members were detected in both species. However, the current amplitudes (mainly Kir2.1 and Kv1.3) depended on activation state and species. Treatment-induced changes in morphology and migratory capacity were similar between the species (migration reduced by I + T, increased by IL-4 or IL-10). In both species, Kir2.1 block reduced migration and Kv1.3 block increased it, regardless of activation state; thus, these channels might affect microglial migration to damage sites. Caution is recommended in generalizing molecular and functional responses of microglia to activating stimuli between species.