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Original Article

Exp Neurobiol 2017; 26(1): 33-41

Published online February 28, 2017

© The Korean Society for Brain and Neural Sciences

M2 Phenotype Microglia-derived Cytokine Stimulates Proliferation and Neuronal Differentiation of Endogenous Stem Cells in Ischemic Brain

Ja Yong Choi1,2†, Jong Youl Kim1†, Jae Young Kim1†, Joohyun Park1,2, Won Taek Lee1 and Jong Eun Lee1,2*

1Department of Anatomy, Yonsei University College of Medicine, 2BK21 Plus Project for Medical Sciences and Brain Research Institute, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul 03722, Korea

Correspondence to: *To whom correspondence should be addressed.
TEL: 82-2-2228-1646, FAX: 82-2-365-0700
These authors contributed equally to this work.

Received: January 13, 2017; Revised: January 20, 2017; Accepted: January 23, 2017


Microglia play a key role in the immune response and inflammatory reaction that occurs in response to ischemic stroke. Activated microglia promote neuronal damage or protection in injured brain tissue. Extracellular signals polarize the microglia towards the M1/M2 phenotype. The M1/M2 phenotype microglia released pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines which induce the activation of neural stem/progenitor cells (NSPCs). In this study, we investigated how the cytokines released by microglia affect the activation of NSPCs. First, we treated BV2 cells with a lipopolysaccharide (LPS; 20 ng/ml) for M1 phenotype microglia and interleukin-4 (IL-4; 20 ng/ml) for M2 phenotype microglia in BV2 cells. Mice were subjected to transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (tMCAO) for 1 h. In ex vivo, brain sections containing the subventricular zone (SVZ) were cultured in conditioned media of M1 and M2 phenotype-conditioned media for 3 d. We measured the expression of cytokines in the conditioned media by RT-PCR and ELISA. The M2 phenotype microglia-conditioned media led to the proliferation and neural differentiation of NSPCs in the ipsilateral SVZ after ischemic stroke. The RT-PCR and ELISA results showed that the expression of TGF-α mRNA was significantly higher in the M2 phenotype microglia-conditioned media. These data support that M2 phenotype microglia-derived TGF-α is one of the key factors to enhance proliferation and neural differntiation of NSPCs after ischemic stroke.

Keywords: Ischemic stroke, TGF-α, microglia, neural stem/progenitor cells, proliferation, neuronal differentiation