Reactive oxygen species up-regulate CD11b in microglia via nitric oxide: Implications for neurodegenerative diseases

Free Radic Biol Med. 2008 Sep 1;45(5):686-99. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2008.05.026. Epub 2008 Jun 6.


Microglial activation is considered as a hallmark of several neurodegenerative disorders. During microglial activation, the expression of CD11b, the beta-integrin marker of microglia, is increased. However, the molecular mechanism behind increased microglial CD11b expression is poorly understood. The present study was undertaken to explore the role of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the expression of CD11b in microglial cells. Bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) stimulated the expression of CD11b in mouse BV-2 microglial cells and primary microglia, the effect that was blocked by antioxidants such as N-acetylcysteine (NAC) and pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate (PDTC). Furthermore, comicroinjection of either NAC or PDTC with LPS was also able to suppress LPS-stimulated expression of CD11b in striatum in vivo. Similarly, other neurotoxic molecules, such as interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta), IL-12 p40(2), fibrillar amyloid-beta (Abeta) peptides, HIV-1 gp120, and double-stranded RNA (poly(IC)), also stimulated the expression of CD11b in microglia through the involvement of ROS. Complete inhibition of LPS-stimulated expression of CD11b by catalase, induction of CD11b expression by H2O2 alone, and inhibition of superoxide-stimulated CD11b expression by catalase suggest that H2O2, but not superoxide, is in fact involved in the expression of CD11b. Interestingly, we also demonstrate that ROS stimulated the expression of CD11b after the induction of nitric oxide (NO) production and failed to stimulate CD11b when NO production was inhibited by either 2-(4-carboxyphenyl)-4,4,5,5-tetramethylimidazoline-1-oxyl-3-oxide (carboxy-PTIO) or L-N6-(1-iminoethyl)-L-lysine (L-NIL). Taken together, these studies suggest that the up-regulation of CD11b in microglia is redox sensitive and that ROS up-regulates CD11b via NO.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD11b Antigen / genetics
  • CD11b Antigen / metabolism*
  • Cell Line
  • Cells, Cultured
  • HIV Envelope Protein gp120 / genetics
  • HIV Envelope Protein gp120 / metabolism
  • HIV-1 / genetics
  • HIV-1 / metabolism
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / metabolism
  • Lipopolysaccharides / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Microglia / metabolism*
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / genetics
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / metabolism*
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism*
  • RNA, Double-Stranded / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism*
  • Up-Regulation* / drug effects


  • CD11b Antigen
  • HIV Envelope Protein gp120
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • RNA, Double-Stranded
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • gp120 protein, Human immunodeficiency virus 1
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Hydrogen Peroxide