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Am J Pathol. 2009 Nov;175(5):2121-32. doi: 10.2353/ajpath.2009.090418. Epub 2009 Oct 15.

Microglia activated with the toll-like receptor 9 ligand CpG attenuate oligomeric amyloid {beta} neurotoxicity in in vitro and in vivo models of Alzheimer's disease.

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Department of Neuroimmunology, Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Nagoya University, Japan.


Soluble oligomeric amyloid beta (oAbeta) 1-42 causes synaptic dysfunction and neuronal injury in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Although accumulation of microglia around senile plaques is a hallmark of AD pathology, the role of microglia in oAbeta1-42 neurotoxicity is not fully understood. Here, we showed that oAbeta but not fibrillar Abeta was neurotoxic, and microglia activated with unmethylated DNA CpG motif (CpG), a ligand for Toll-like receptor 9, attenuated oAbeta1-42 neurotoxicity in primary neuron-microglia co-cultures. CpG enhanced microglial clearance of oAbeta1-42 and induced higher levels of the antioxidant enzyme heme oxygenase-1 in microglia without producing neurotoxic molecules such as nitric oxide and glutamate. Among subclasses of CpGs, class B and class C activated microglia to promote neuroprotection. Moreover, intracerebroventricular administration of CpG ameliorated both the cognitive impairments induced by oAbeta1-42 and the impairment of associative learning in Tg2576 mouse model of AD. We propose that CpG may be an effective therapeutic strategy for limiting oAbeta1-42 neurotoxicity in AD.

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