Transcriptional response of human microglial cells to interferon-gamma

Genes Immun. 2005 Dec;6(8):712-9. doi: 10.1038/sj.gene.6364246.


Microglia, the resident macrophages in the central nervous system (CNS), play a pivotal role in innate and adaptive immune responses in the brain. The immune functions of microglia are regulated by cytokines, including interferon (IFN)-gamma, which is a major mediator of macrophage activation. We describe the transcriptional profile of human fetal microglial cells at 1, 6, and 24 h after IFN-gamma treatment. The results show a change in the expression of 405 genes including transcriptionally induced chemokines, IFN-gamma signaling factors, and major histocompatibility complex genes. Our results demonstrate that activation of microglia by IFN-gamma induces proinflammatory T-lymphocyte-related chemokine genes as well as genes involved in antigen presentation. As a result, signals for T-cell infiltration and antigen presentation are produced to allow for microglia-T-cell interactions that likely contribute to defense against invading pathogens. In sum, our results provide a foundation for the molecular mechanisms of the microglial response to IFN-gamma-a key to understanding cell-mediated immunity of the CNS.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chemokine CCL2 / metabolism
  • Chemokine CCL5
  • Chemokine CXCL10
  • Chemokine CXCL11
  • Chemokines / analysis
  • Chemokines, CC / metabolism
  • Chemokines, CXC / metabolism
  • Culture Media / chemistry
  • Cytokines / analysis
  • Fetus
  • Gene Expression
  • Humans
  • Interferon-gamma / genetics
  • Interferon-gamma / pharmacology*
  • Kinetics
  • Microglia / drug effects*
  • Microglia / immunology
  • Models, Genetic
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Recombinant Proteins / pharmacology
  • Time Factors
  • Transcription, Genetic / drug effects*


  • CCL2 protein, human
  • CCL5 protein, human
  • CXCL10 protein, human
  • CXCL11 protein, human
  • Chemokine CCL2
  • Chemokine CCL5
  • Chemokine CXCL10
  • Chemokine CXCL11
  • Chemokines
  • Chemokines, CC
  • Chemokines, CXC
  • Culture Media
  • Cytokines
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Interferon-gamma