Activated microglia are the principal glial source of thromboxane in the central nervous system

Neurochem Int. 1996 Jul;29(1):65-76. doi: 10.1016/0197-0186(95)00140-9.


Thromboxane A2(TxA2) is a potent vasoconstrictor associated with cerebrovascular disease and is thought to be synthesized within tissues of the brain. In order to determine the cellular sources of TxA2 in the central nervous system (CNS), we measured the release of the stable metabolite TxB2 in cultures of mixed or highly enriched populations of brain glia. Using techniques which isolated large numbers of highly enriched microglia and astroglia, we found that only microglia release TxB2. Moreover, microglia, not astroglia, contain the requisite synthetic enzyme thromboxane synthase. Phagocytic signals and lipopolysaccharide are potent stimulants of microglial release of thromboxane, with lesser effects shown by platelet activating factor and substance P. We conclude that microglia, when activated, are the principal source of brain-derived thromboxane and may help to control vascular flow at sites of acute CNS injury.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Astrocytes / enzymology
  • Astrocytes / immunology
  • Astrocytes / metabolism
  • Blotting, Western
  • Brain Chemistry / physiology
  • Cell Separation
  • Central Nervous System / enzymology
  • Central Nervous System / metabolism*
  • Macrophage Activation / physiology*
  • Microglia / enzymology
  • Microglia / metabolism*
  • Phagocytosis / physiology
  • Radioimmunoassay
  • Rats
  • Thromboxane B2 / biosynthesis
  • Thromboxane-A Synthase / analysis
  • Thromboxane-A Synthase / immunology
  • Thromboxanes / biosynthesis*


  • Thromboxanes
  • Thromboxane B2
  • Thromboxane-A Synthase