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  • Different Contacted Cell Types Contribute to Acquiring Different Properties in Brain Microglial Cells upon Intercellular Interaction.

Different Contacted Cell Types Contribute to Acquiring Different Properties in Brain Microglial Cells upon Intercellular Interaction.

International journal of molecular sciences (2023-01-22)
Akiko Nakano-Doi, Shuji Kubo, Emiko Sonoda, Akihiko Taguchi, Takayuki Nakagomi
ABSTRACT

Microglial cells (MGs), originally derived from progenitor cells in a yolk sac during early development, are glial cells located in a physiological and pathological brain. Since the brain contains various cell types, MGs could frequently interact with different cells, such as astrocytes (ACs), pericytes (PCs), and endothelial cells (ECs). However, how microglial traits are regulated via cell-cell interactions by ACs, PCs, or ECs and how they are different depending on the contacted cell types is unclear. This study aimed to clarify these questions by coculturing MGs with ACs, PCs, or ECs using mouse brain-derived cells, and microglial phenotypic changes were investigated under culture conditions that enabled direct cell-cell contact. Our results showed that ACs or PCs dose-dependently increased the number of MG, while ECs decreased it. Microarray and gene ontology analysis showed that cell fate-related genes (e.g., cell cycle, proliferation, growth, death, and apoptosis) of MGs were altered after a cell-cell contact with ACs, PCs, and ECs. Notably, microarray analysis showed that several genes, such as gap junction protein alpha 1 (Gja1), were prominently upregulated in MGs after coincubation with ACs, PCs, or ECs, regardless of cell types. Similarly, immunohistochemistry showed that an increased Gja1 expression was observed in MGs after coincubation with ACs, PCs, or ECs. Immunofluorescent and fluorescence-activated cell sorting analysis also showed that calcein-AM was transferred into MGs after coincubation with ACs, PCs, or ECs, confirming that intercellular interactions occurred between these cells. However, while Gja1 inhibition reduced the number of MGs after coincubation with ACs and PCs, this was increased after coincubation with ECs; this indicates that ACs and PCs positively regulate microglial numbers via Gja1, while ECs decrease it. Results show that ACs, PCs, or ECs exert both common and specific cell type-dependent effects on MGs through intercellular interactions. These findings also suggest that brain microglial phenotypes are different depending on their surrounding cell types, such as ACs, PCs, or ECs.

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IMG Mouse Microglial Cell Line, IMG microglial cells recapitulate key features of microglial cell activation and may be used to study neuroinflammatory responses underlying Alzheimer′s disease.