Cellular Specificity of NF-κB Function in the Nervous System

Front Immunol. 2019 May 9:10:1043. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2019.01043. eCollection 2019.


Nuclear Factor Kappa B (NF-κB) is a ubiquitously expressed transcription factor with key functions in a wide array of biological systems. While the role of NF-κB in processes, such as host immunity and oncogenesis has been more clearly defined, an understanding of the basic functions of NF-κB in the nervous system has lagged behind. The vast cell-type heterogeneity within the central nervous system (CNS) and the interplay between cell-type specific roles of NF-κB contributes to the complexity of understanding NF-κB functions in the brain. In this review, we will focus on the emerging understanding of cell-autonomous regulation of NF-κB signaling as well as the non-cell-autonomous functional impacts of NF-κB activation in the mammalian nervous system. We will focus on recent work which is unlocking the pleiotropic roles of NF-κB in neurons and glial cells (including astrocytes and microglia). Normal physiology as well as disorders of the CNS in which NF-κB signaling has been implicated will be discussed with reference to the lens of cell-type specific responses.

Keywords: NF-κB; Neurons; Plasticity; central nervous system (CNS); gene expression; glia; synapse; transcription.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Central Nervous System / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Microglia / physiology*
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism*
  • Nervous System / immunology*
  • Neuroglia / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Organ Specificity
  • Signal Transduction


  • NF-kappa B