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J Neuroimmunol. 1993 Jun;45(1-2):193-201.

Functional dichotomy of mouse microglia developed in vitro: differential effects of macrophage and granulocyte/macrophage colony-stimulating factor on cytokine secretion and antitoxoplasmic activity.

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Institute for Medical Microbiology and Virology, Heinrich-Heine-University, Düsseldorf, Germany.


After differentiation either with exogenous macrophage (M) or with granulocyte/macrophage (GM) colony-stimulating factor (CSF) microglial cells were isolated from neonatal mouse brain cell cultures and were comparatively tested for secretory immune effector cell functions. Both factors obviously do not promote the development of cells with biased growth requirement; however, the two microglia populations displayed distinct potentials to produce inflammatory cytokines. Upon gradual stimulation by lipopolysaccharide, the cells harvested from M-CSF-driven culture released more interleukin-1 and tumor necrosis factor activity, GM-CSF-grown cells on the contrary proved superior in interleukin-6 secretion. This pattern was paralleled by corresponding different kinetics of cytokine release in both types of microglial cells. When infected with Toxoplasma gondii only GM-CSF-differentiated cells were able to restrict the intracellular multiplication of tachyzoites in the absence of external stimuli. As described for interferon-gamma-treated macrophages, the antiparasitic activity of this microglia population is due to the synthesis of reactive nitrogen intermediates, since it was antagonized by NG-monomethyl-L-arginine, a competitive inhibitor of the arginine-dependent metabolic pathway. Complementary to previous data which attest an intrinsic capability for antigen presentation to GM-CSF-grown microglia, the functional state of the cells elicited by M-CSF and GM-CSF, respectively, may correspond to the resting and an activated form of microglia as distinguished in vivo.

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