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Papers of the Week

Papers: 13 Jun 2020 - 19 Jun 2020

Animal Studies

2020 Jun 09

Neurosci Lett

Distribution and polarization of microglia and macrophages at injured sites and the lumbar enlargement after spinal cord injury.


Nakajima H, Honjoh K, Watanabe S, Kubota A, Matsumine A
Neurosci Lett. 2020 Jun 09:135152.
PMID: 32531528.


Spinal cord injury (SCI) causes loss of locomotor function and chronic neuropathic pain (NeP). Hematogenous macrophages and activated microglia are key monocytic lineage cell types in the response to SCI, and each has M1- and M2-phenotypes. To understand the roles of these cells in neuronal regeneration and chronic NeP after SCI, differences in distribution and phenotypes of activated microglia and infiltrated macrophages after SCI were examined at the injured site and the lumbar enlargement, as a remote region. Chimeric mice were used for differentiating activated microglia from hematogenous macrophages. The prevalences of activated microglia and infiltrating macrophages increased at day 14 after SCI, at the time of most severe pain hypersensitivity, with mainly M1-type hematogenous macrophages at the injured site and M2-type activated microglia at the lumbar enlargement. Peak expression of TNF-α, an M1-induced cytokine, occurred on day 4 post-SCI at the injured site, but not until day 14 at the lumbar enlargement. Expression of IL-4, a M2-induced cytokine, peaked at 4 days after SCI at both sites. These results suggest different roles of activated microglia and hematogenous macrophages, including both phenotypes of each cell, in neuronal regeneration and chronic NeP after SCI at the injured site and lumbar enlargement. The prevalence of the M1 over the M2 phenotype at the injured site until the subacute phase after SCI may be partially responsible for the lack of functional recovery and chronic NeP after SCI. Activation of M2-type microglia at the lumbar enlargement in response to inflammatory cytokines from the injured site might be important in chronic below-level pain. These findings are useful for establishment of a therapeutic target for prevention of motor deterioration and NeP in the time-dependent response to SCI.