Neuroinflammation is a common feature of many neurodegenerative diseases. It fosters a dysfunctional neuron-microglia-astrocyte crosstalk that, in turn, maintains microglial cells in a perniciously reactive state that often enhances neuronal damage. The molecular components that mediate this critical communication are not fully explored. Here, we show that secreted frizzled-related protein 1 (SFRP1), a multifunctional regulator of cell-to-cell communication, is part of the cellular crosstalk underlying neuroinflammation. In mouse models of acute and chronic neuroinflammation, SFRP1, largely astrocyte-derived, promotes and sustains microglial activation, and thus a chronic inflammatory state. SFRP1 promotes the upregulation of components of the hypoxia-induced factor-dependent inflammatory pathway and, to a lower extent, of those downstream of the nuclear factor-kappa B. We thus propose that SFRP1 acts as an astrocyte-to-microglia amplifier of neuroinflammation, representing a potential valuable therapeutic target for counteracting the harmful effect of chronic inflammation in several neurodegenerative diseases.
Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; HIF pathway; activated microglia; multiple sclerosis; reactive astrocytes.
© 2021 The Authors. Published under the terms of the CC BY NC ND 4.0 license.