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Ann Neurol. 1991 Feb;29(2):152-61.

Human microglial cells: characterization in cerebral tissue and in primary culture, and study of their susceptibility to HIV-1 infection.

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1
Laboratoire de Neurovirologie, Unité INSERM, U56 Hopital de Bicêtre, Le Kremlin-Bicêtre, France.

Abstract

Neuropathological studies have shown that human immunodeficiency virus type 1-infected cells within the brain express several markers characteristic of macrophages and could either be microglial cells, or monocytes invading the CNS, or both. To better define the target cells of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 within the brain, we have studied human microglial cells, both in vivo and in vitro, and compared them to monocytes for their antigenic markers and their susceptibility to human immunodeficiency virus type 1 infection. Brain-derived macrophages were isolated from primary cortical and spinal cord cultures obtained from 8 to 12-week-old human embryos. The isolated cells presented esterase activity, phagocyted zymosan particles, expressed several (Fc receptors, and CD68/Ki-M7 and CD11b/CR3 receptors) of the macrophagic antigenic markers, and appeared to be resident microglial cells from human embryonic brain. Conversely, brain-derived macrophages did not express antigens CD4, CD14, or CD68/Ki-M6, which are easily detected on freshly isolated monocytes. Using these antigenic differences between isolated microglial cells and monocytes, we have observed that two populations of macrophages could be individualized. In the normal adult brain, microglial cells were numerous in both the gray and the white matter. The infrequent cells sharing antigens with monocytes were found almost exclusively around vessels. In 8 to 12-week-old human embryos, microglial cells were found in both the parenchyma and the germinative layer. Cells sharing antigens with monocytes were only found at the top of and inside the germinative layer. In brain tissue from patients with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 encephalitis, cells sharing antigens with monocytes are abundant not only around the vessels but also in the parenchyma. In double-labeling experiments, human immunodeficiency virus type 1-infected cells showed monocyte antigens. Finally, microglial cells also differ from monocytes in their in vitro susceptibility to human immunodeficiency virus type 1 infection; after stimulation by r-TNF alpha or GmCSF, monocytes but not microglial cells can replicate human immunodeficiency virus type 1. This in vitro difference in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 susceptibility between monocytes and microglial cells together with the presence of monocytic antigens within the brain tissue of human immunodeficiency virus type 1-infected patients suggest that human immunodeficiency virus type 1-infected cells within the brain are either monocytes that have crossed the blood-brain barrier and spread through the tissue or perivascular microglial cells that, after phagocyting infected blood lymphocytes, subsequently contain viral antigen and migrate to brain tissue.

PMID:
1707249
DOI:
10.1002/ana.410290207
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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