Microglial C5aR (CD88) expression correlates with amyloid-beta deposition in murine models of Alzheimer's disease

J Neurochem. 2010 Apr;113(2):389-401. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.2010.06595.x. Epub 2010 Feb 2.


Alzheimer's disease (AD), a progressive neurodegenerative disease characterized by the accumulation of amyloid-beta protein and neuronal loss, is the leading cause of age-related dementia in the world today. The disease is also associated with neuroinflammation, robust activation of astrocytes and microglia, and evidence of activation of the complement system, localized with both fibrillar amyloid-beta (fAbeta) plaques and tangles. The observations are consistent with a complement-dependent component of AD progression. We have previously shown that inhibition of the major complement receptor for C5a (CD88) with the antagonist PMX205 results in a significant reduction in pathology in two mouse models of AD. To further characterize the role of complement in AD-related neuroinflammation, we examined the age- and disease-associated expression of CD88 in brain of transgenic mouse models of AD and the influence of PMX205 on the presence of various complement activation products using flow cytometry, western blot, and immunohistochemistry. CD88 was found to be up-regulated in microglia, in the immediate vicinity of amyloid plaques. While thioflavine plaque load and glial recruitment is significantly reduced after treatment with PMX205, C1q remains co-localized with fAbeta plaques and C3 is still expressed by the recruited astrocytes. Thus, with PMX205, potentially beneficial activities of these early complement components may remain intact, while detrimental activities resulting from C5a-CD88 interaction are inhibited. This further supports the targeted inhibition of specific complement mediated activities as an approach for AD therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology*
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / metabolism*
  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor / genetics
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Cerebral Cortex / pathology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Flow Cytometry / methods
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Gene Expression Regulation / genetics*
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein / metabolism
  • Hippocampus / pathology
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Microglia / metabolism*
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Peptides, Cyclic / pharmacology
  • Receptor, Anaphylatoxin C5a / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptor, Anaphylatoxin C5a / deficiency
  • Receptor, Anaphylatoxin C5a / metabolism*
  • Statistics as Topic / methods*


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein
  • Peptides, Cyclic
  • Receptor, Anaphylatoxin C5a
  • hydrocinnamate-cyclo(ornithyl-prolyl-cyclohexylalanyl-tryptophyl-arginyl)