Microglia/macrophage polarization dynamics in white matter after traumatic brain injury.J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2013 Dec; 33(12):1864-74.JC
Mononuclear phagocytes are a population of multi-phenotypic cells and have dual roles in brain destruction/reconstruction. The phenotype-specific roles of microglia/macrophages in traumatic brain injury (TBI) are, however, poorly characterized. In the present study, TBI was induced in mice by a controlled cortical impact (CCI) and animals were killed at 1 to 14 days post injury. Real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and immunofluorescence staining for M1 and M2 markers were performed to characterize phenotypic changes of microglia/macrophages in both gray and white matter. We found that the number of M1-like phagocytes increased in cortex, striatum and corpus callosum (CC) during the first week and remained elevated until at least 14 days after TBI. In contrast, M2-like microglia/macrophages peaked at 5 days, but decreased rapidly thereafter. Notably, the severity of white matter injury (WMI), manifested by immunohistochemical staining for neurofilament SMI-32, was strongly correlated with the number of M1-like phagocytes. In vitro experiments using a conditioned medium transfer system confirmed that M1 microglia-conditioned media exacerbated oxygen glucose deprivation-induced oligodendrocyte death. Our results indicate that microglia/macrophages respond dynamically to TBI, experiencing a transient M2 phenotype followed by a shift to the M1 phenotype. The M1 phenotypic shift may propel WMI progression and represents a rational target for TBI treatment.