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Neurobiol Aging. 2013 Jun;34(6):1610-20. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2012.12.014.

Aging enhances classical activation but mitigates alternative activation in the central nervous system.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, USA.


The roles of microglia and macrophages during neuroinflammation and neurodegenerative diseases remain controversial. To date, at least 2 activations states have been suggested, consisting of a classical response (M1) and the alternative response (M2). Identifying selective biomarkers of microglia that representative their functional activation states may help elucidate disease course and enable a better understanding of repair mechanisms. Two cocktails containing either tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, interleukin (IL)-12, and IL-1β (referred to as CKT-1) or IL-13 and IL-4 (referred to CKT-2) were injections into the hippocampus of mice aged 6, 12, or 24 months. Microarray analysis was performed on hippocampal tissue 3 days postinjection. Gene transcripts were compared between CKT-1 versus CKT-2 stimulator cocktails. Several selective transcripts expressed for the CKT-1 included CXCL13, haptoglobin, MARCO, and calgranulin B, whereas a smaller subset of genes was selectively induced by the CKT-2 and consisted of FIZZ1, IGF-1, and EAR 11. Importantly, selective transcripts were induced at all ages by CKT-1, whereas selective gene transcripts induced by CKT-2 decreased with age suggesting an age-related reduction in the IL-4/ IL-13 signaling pathway.

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