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Neurochem Res. 2009 Mar;34(3):445-52. doi: 10.1007/s11064-008-9803-9. Epub 2008 Aug 7.

Thrombin-induced regulation of CD95(Fas) expression in the N9 microglial cell line: evidence for involvement of proteinase-activated receptor(1) and extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2.

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Department of Neurology, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Box 356465, 1959 NE Pacific Street, Seattle, WA 98195-6465, USA.


Microglia are the immune cells of the CNS. Brain injury triggers phenotypic changes in microglia including regulation of surface antigens. The serine proteinase alpha-thrombin can induce profound changes in neural cell physiology via cleavage of proteinase-activated receptors (PARs). We recently demonstrated that pharmaceutical-grade recombinant human alpha-thrombin (rh-thr) induces a restricted set of proteolysis-dependent changes in microglia. CD95(Fas) is a cell-death receptor that is up-regulated in microglia by inflammatory stimuli. Here we characterized the effect of rh-thr on CD95(Fas) expression in the N9 microglial cell line. Dose-response and time course studies demonstrated maximal effects at 100 U/ml and 24 h, respectively. Regulation of expression was seen at both the surface protein and steady-state mRNA levels. The rh-thr-induced effects were mimicked by PAR(1) agonist peptides and blocked by pharmacologic inhibitors selective for extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK 1/2). Rh-thr also induced a rapid and sustained phosphorylation of ERK 1/2. Thrombin-induced regulation of CD95(Fas) could modulate the neuroinflammatory response in a variety of neurological disorders.

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