Microglial degeneration in the aging brain--bad news for neurons?
ABSTRACT We have long promulgated the idea that microglial cells serve an entirely beneficial role in the central nervous system (CNS), not only as immunological sentinels to fend off potentially dangerous infections, but also as constitutively neuroprotective glia that help sustain neuronal function in the normal and especially in the injured CNS when microglia become activated. In recent years, we have reported on the presence of degenerating microglial cells, which are prominent in the brains of aged humans and humans with neurodegenerative diseases, and this has led us to propose a hypothesis stating that loss of microglia and microglial neuroprotective functions could, at least in part, account for aging-related neurodegeneration. In the current review, we sum up the many aspects that characterize microglial activation and compare them to those that characterize microglial senescence and degeneration. We also consider the possible role of oxidative stress as a cause of microglial degeneration. We finish up by discussing the role microglial cells play in terms of amyloid clearance and degradation with the underlying idea that removal of amyloid constitutes a microglial neuroprotective function, which may become compromised during aging.
- SourceAvailable from: Yen-Ching Chen
Dataset: ChenYC2012(TLR4 AD)
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ABSTRACT: The function and the role of glucosylceramide have not been well studied in the central nervous system. This study was aimed to investigate the possible roles of glucosylceramide in memory function in aged mice. Glucosylceramide (50 mg/kg, p.o.) showed memory enhancing activity after 3-month treatment in the aged mice (C56BL/6, 18-20 months old) through Y-maze, novel objective test, and Morris water maze test. Long-term treatment of glucosylceramide decreased the expression of iNOS and COX-2 in the brain of aged mice. The LPS-induced mRNA level of iNOS, COX-2, IL-1 β , and TNF- α was reduced by the acute treatment with glucosylceramide in adult mice. These results suggest that glucosylceramide plays an important role in anti-inflammatory and memory enhancement, and it could be a potential new therapeutic agent for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease.Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 01/2013; 2013:824120. · 1.72 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Microglia serve in the surveillance and maintenance, protection and restoration of the central nervous system (CNS) homeostasis. By their parenchymal location they differ from other CNS-associated myeloid cells, and by origin as well as functional characteristics they are also-at least in part-distinct from extraneural tissue macrophages. Nevertheless, microglia themselves may not comprise a uniform cell type. CNS regions vary by cellular and chemical composition, including white matter (myelin) content, blood-brain barrier properties or prevailing neurotransmitters. Such a micromilieu could instruct as well as require local adaptions of microglial features. Yet even cells within circumscribed populations may reveal some specialization by subtypes, regarding house-keeping duties and functional capacities upon challenges. While diversity of reactive phenotypes has been established still little is known as to whether all activated cells would respond with the same program of induced genes and functions or whether responder subsets have individual contributions. Preferential synthesis of a key cytokine could asign a master control to certain cells among a pool of activated microglia. Critical functions could be sequestered to discrete microglial subtypes in order to avoid interference, such as clearance of endogenous material and presentation of antigens. Indeed, several and especially a number of recent studies provide evidence for the constitutive and reactive heterogeneity of microglia by and within CNS regions. While such a principle of "division of labor" would influence the basic notion of "the" microglia, it could come with the practival value of addressing separate microglia types in experimental and therapeutic manipulations.Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience 01/2013; 7:65. · 4.47 Impact Factor