Fasudil inhibits the activation of microglia and astrocytes of transgenic Alzheimer's disease mice via the downregulation of TLR4/Myd88/NF-κB pathway.J Neuroimmunol. 2020 Jun 23; 346:577284.JN
Emerging evidence suggests an association of Alzheimer's Disease (AD) with microglial and astrocytic dysregulation. Recent studies have proposed that activated microglia can transform astrocytes to a neurotoxic A1 phenotype, which has been shown to be involved in the promotion of neuronal damage in several neurodegenerative diseases, including AD. In the present study, we observed an obvious microglial activation and A1-specific astrocyte response in the brain tissue of APP/PS1 Tg mice. Fasudil treatment improved the cognitive deficits of APP/PS1 Tg mice, inhibited microglial activation and promoted their transformation to an anti-inflammatory phenotype, and further shifted astrocytes from an A1 to an A2 phenotype. Our experiments suggest Fasudil exerted these functions by inhibing the expression of TLR4, MyD88, and NF-κB, which are key mediators of inflammation. Using in vitro experiments, we further validated in vivo findings. Our cell experiments indicated that Fasudil induces a shift of inflammatory microglia towards an anti-inflammatory phenotype. LPS-induced microglia-conditioned medium promotes A1 astrocytic polarization, but Fasudil treatment resulted in a direct transformation of A1 astrocytes to A2. To summarize, our results show that Fasudil inhibits the neurotoxic activation of microglia and shifts astrocytes towards a neuroprotective A2 phenotype, representing a promising candidate for AD treatment.