Resident microglia die and infiltrated neutrophils and monocytes become major inflammatory cells in lipopolysaccharide-injected brain

Glia. 2007 Nov 15;55(15):1577-88. doi: 10.1002/glia.20571.


Generally, it has been accepted that microglia play important roles in brain inflammation. However, recently several studies suggested possible infiltration of blood neutrophils and monocytes into the brain. To understand contribution of microglia and blood inflammatory cells to brain inflammation, the behavior of microglia, neutrophils, and monocytes was investigated in LPS (lipopolysaccharide)-injected substantia nigra pars compacta, cortex, and hippocampus of normal and/or leukopenic rats using specific markers of neutrophils (myeloperoxidase, MPO), and microglia and monocytes (ionized calcium binding adaptor molecule-1, Iba-1), as well as a general marker for these inflammatory cells (CD11b). CD11b-immunopositive (CD11b(+)) cells and Iba-1(+) cells displayed similar behavior in intact and LPS-injected brain at 6 h after the injection. Interestingly, however, CD11b(+) cells and Iba-1(+) cells displayed significantly different behavior at 12 h: Iba-1(+) cells disappeared while CD11b(+) cells became round in shape. We found that CD11b/Iba-1-double positive (CD11b(+)/Iba-1(+)) ramified microglia died within 6 h after LPS injection. The round CD11b(+) cells detected at 12 h were MPO(+). These CD11b(+)/MPO(+) cells were not found in leukopenic rats, suggestive of neutrophil infiltration. MPO(+) neutrophils expressed inducible nitric oxide synthase, interleukin-1beta, cyclooxygenase-2, and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, but died within 18 h. CD11b(+) cells detected at 24 h appeared to be infiltrated monocytes, since these cells were once labeled with Iba-1 and were not found in leukopenic rats. Furthermore, transplanted monocytes were detectable in LPS-injected brain. These results suggest that at least a part of neutrophils and monocytes could have been misinterpreted as activated microglia in inflamed brain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD11b Antigen / physiology
  • Cell Death / physiology
  • Cell Transplantation
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Situ Nick-End Labeling
  • Inflammation / chemically induced
  • Inflammation / pathology*
  • Injections, Intraventricular
  • Leukopenia / chemically induced
  • Leukopenia / pathology
  • Lipopolysaccharides / administration & dosage
  • Lipopolysaccharides / pharmacology*
  • Macrophage Activation / physiology
  • Male
  • Microglia / physiology*
  • Monocytes / physiology*
  • Neutrophil Infiltration / physiology*
  • Neutrophils / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • CD11b Antigen
  • Lipopolysaccharides