• Elevated activity and microglial expression of myeloperoxidase in demyelinated cerebral cortex in multiple sclerosis

      Gray, E.; Thomas, T. L.; Betmouni, S.; Scolding, N.; Love, S. (2008)
      Recent studies have revealed extensive cortical demyelination in patients with progressive multiple sclerosis (MS). Demyelination in gray matter lesions is associated with activation of microglia. Macrophages and microglia are known to express myeloperoxidase (MPO) and generate reactive oxygen species during myelin phagocytosis in the white matter. In the present study we examined the extent of microglial activation in the cerebral cortex and the relationship of microglial activation and MPO activity to cortical demyelination. Twenty-one cases of neuropathologically confirmed multiple sclerosis, with 34 cortical lesions, were used to assess microglial activation. HLA-DR immunolabeling of activated microglia was significantly higher in demyelinated MS cortex than control cortex and, within the MS cohort, was significantly greater within cortical lesions than in matched non-demyelinated areas of cortex. In homogenates of MS cortex, cortical demyelination was associated with significantly elevated MPO activity. Immunohistochemistry revealed MPO in CD68-positive microglia within cortical plaques, particularly toward the edge of the plaques, but not in microglia in adjacent non-demyelinated cortex. Cortical demyelination in MS is associated with increased activity of MPO, which is expressed by a CD68-positive subset of activated microglia, suggesting that microglial production of reactive oxygen species is likely to be involved in cortical demyelination.
    • Loss of Perineuronal Net in ME7 Prion Disease

      Franklin, S.L.; Love, S.; Greene, J.R.; Betmouni, S. (2008)
      Microglial activation and behavioral abnormalities occur before neuronal loss in experimental murine prion disease; the behavioral changes coincide with a reduction in synaptic plasticity. Because synaptic plasticity depends on an intact perineuronal net (PN), a specialized extracellular matrix that surrounds parvalbumin (PV)-positive GABAergic (gamma-aminobutyric acid [GABA]) inhibitory interneurons, we investigated the temporal relationships between microglial activation and loss of PN and PV-positive neurons in ME7 murine prion disease. Anesthetized C57Bl/6J mice received bilateral intracerebral microinjections of ME7-infected or normal brain homogenate into the dorsal hippocampus. Microglial activation, PrP accumulation, the number of PV-positive interneurons, and Wisteria floribunda agglutinin-positive neurons (i.e. those with an intact PN) were assessed in the ventral CA1 and subiculum at 4, 8, 12, 16, and 20 weeks postinjection. Hippocampal areas and total neuron numbers in the ventral CA1 and subiculum were also determined. Loss of PN coincided with early microglial activation and with a reduction in synaptic plasticity. No significant loss of PV-positive interneurons was observed. Our findings suggest that the substrate of the earliest synaptic and behavioral abnormalities in murine prion disease may be inflammatory microglia-mediated degradation of the PN.