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Eur J Immunol. 2013 Aug;43(8):2010-22. doi: 10.1002/eji.201243084. Epub 2013 Jun 5.

Traumatic brain injury induces macrophage subsets in the brain.

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San Francisco VA Medical Center, San Francisco, CA, USA.


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) elicits innate inflammatory responses that can lead to secondary brain injury. To better understand the mechanisms involved in TBI-induced inflammation, we examined the nature of macrophages responding to TBI in mice. In this model, brain macrophages were increased >20-fold the day after injury and >77-fold 4 days after injury in the ipsilateral hemisphere compared with sham controls. TBI macrophage subsets were identified by using a reporter mouse strain (YARG) that expresses eYFP from an internal ribosome entry site (IRES) inserted at the 3' end of the gene for arginase-1 (Arg1), a hallmark of alternatively activated (M2) macrophages. One day after TBI, 21 ± 1.5% of ipsilateral brain macrophages expressed relatively high levels of Arg1 as detected by yellow fluorescent protein, and this subpopulation declined thereafter. Arg1(+) cells localized with macrophages near the TBI lesion. Gene expression analysis of sorted Arg1(+) and Arg1(-) brain macrophages revealed that both populations had profiles that included features of conventional M2 macrophages and classically activated (M1) macrophages. The Arg1(+) cells differed from Arg1(-) cells in multiple aspects, most notably in their chemokine repertoires. Thus, the macrophage response to TBI initially involves heterogeneous polarization toward at least two major subsets.


Alternative activation; Inflammation; Macrophage; Traumatic brain injury

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