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J Neurosci. 2006 Apr 26;26(17):4644-8.

Beta-amyloid stimulates murine postnatal and adult microglia cultures in a unique manner.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, Physiology, and Therapeutics, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, North Dakota 58202, USA.


Reactive microglia are commonly observed in association with the beta-amyloid (Abeta) plaques of Alzheimer's disease brains. This localization supports the hypothesis that Abeta is a specific activating stimulus for microglia. A variety of in vitro studies have used postnatal derived rodent microglia cultures to characterize the ability of Abeta to stimulate these cells. However, it is unclear whether this paradigm accurately models conditions in aged animals. To determine whether Abeta stimulatory phenotypes differ between young and adult microglia, we established cultures of acutely isolated adult murine cortical microglia to compare with postnatal derived microglial cultures. Although cells from both ages expressed robust immunoreactivity for CD68 and CD11b, their responses to activating stimuli differed. Fibrillar Abeta was rapidly phagocytosed by postnatal microglia and both oligomeric and fibrillar peptide stimulated increased tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFalpha) secretion. However, Abeta oligomers but not fibrils stimulated TNFalpha secretion from adult microglia. More importantly, adult microglia had diminished ability to phagocytose Abeta fibrils. These findings demonstrate that adult microglia respond to Abeta fibril stimulation uniquely from postnatal cells and suggest that adult rather than postnatal microglia cultures are more appropriate for modeling proinflammatory changes in the aged CNS.

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