GM-CSF increases LPS-induced production of proinflammatory mediators via upregulation of TLR4 and CD14 in murine microglia

Bijay Parajuli, Yoshifumi Sonobe, Jun Kawanokuchi, Yukiko Doi, Mariko Noda, Hideyuki Takeuchi, Tetsuya Mizuno, Akio Suzumura
Journal of Neuroinflammation 2012, 9: 268

BACKGROUND: Microglia are resident macrophage-like cells in the central nervous system (CNS) and cause innate immune responses via the LPS receptors, Toll-like receptor (TLR) 4 and CD14, in a variety of neuroinflammatory disorders including bacterial infection, Alzheimer's disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) activates microglia and induces inflammatory responses via binding to GM-CSF receptor complex composed of two different subunit GM-CSF receptor α (GM-CSFRα) and common β chain (βc). GM-CSF has been shown to be associated with neuroinflammatory responses in multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer's disease. However, the mechanisms how GM-CSF promotes neuroinflammation still remain unclear.

METHODS: Microglia were stimulated with 20 ng/ml GM-CSF and the levels of TLR4 and CD14 expression were evaluated by RT-PCR and flowcytometry. LPS binding was analyzed by flowcytometry. GM-CSF receptor complex was analyzed by immunocytochemistry. The levels of IL-1β, IL-6 and TNF-α in culture supernatant of GM-CSF-stimulated microglia and NF-κB nuclear translocation were determined by ELISA. Production of nitric oxide (NO) was measured by the Griess method. The levels of p-ERK1/2, ERK1/2, p-p38 and p38 were assessed by Western blotting. Statistically significant differences between experimental groups were determined by one-way ANOVA followed by Tukey test for multiple comparisons.

RESULTS: GM-CSF receptor complex was expressed in microglia. GM-CSF enhanced TLR4 and CD14 expressions in microglia and subsequent LPS-binding to the cell surface. In addition, GM-CSF priming increased LPS-induced NF-κB nuclear translocation and production of IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α and NO by microglia. GM-CSF upregulated the levels of p-ERK1/2 and p-p38, suggesting that induction of TLR4 and CD14 expression by GM-CSF was mediated through ERK1/2 and p38, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that GM-CSF upregulates TLR4 and CD14 expression in microglia through ERK1/2 and p38, respectively, and thus promotes the LPS receptor-mediated inflammation in the CNS.

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