Molecular and Cellular Impact of Inflammatory Extracellular Vesicles (EVs) Derived from M1 and M2 Macrophages on Neural Action Potentials

Brain Sci. 2020 Jul 3;10(7):424. doi: 10.3390/brainsci10070424.


Several factors can contribute to neuroinflammatory disorders, such as cytokine and chemokines that are produced and released from peripherally derived immune cells or from locally activated cells such as microglia and perivascular macrophages in the brain. The primary function of these cells is to clear inflammation; however, following inflammation, circulating monocytes are recruited to the central nervous system (CNS). Monocyte-derived macrophages in the CNS play pivotal roles in mediating neuroinflammatory responses. Macrophages are heterogeneous both in normal and in pathological conditions due to their plasticity, and they are classified in two main subsets, classically activated (M1) or alternatively activated (M2). There is accumulating evidence suggesting that extracellular vesicles (EVs) released from activated immune cells may play crucial roles in mediating inflammation. However, a possible role of EVs released from immune cells such as M1 and M2 macrophages on neuronal functions in the brain is not known. In order to investigate the molecular and cellular impacts of macrophages and EVs released from macrophage subtypes on neuronal functions, we used a recently established in vitro M1 and M2 macrophage culture model and isolated and characterized EVs from these macrophage subtypes, treated primary neurons with M1 or M2 EVs, and analyzed the extracellular action potentials of neurons with microelectrode array studies (MEA). Our results introduce evidence on the interfering role of inflammatory EVs released from macrophages in interneuronal signal transmission processes, with implications in the pathogenesis of neuroinflammatory diseases induced by a variety of inflammatory insults.

Keywords: CD163; M1and M2 macrophages; action potential; exosomes; neuroinflammation.