Study Title:

Homocysteine promotes proliferation and activation of microglia.

Study Abstract

Epidemiological and experimental studies have correlated hyperhomocysteinemia to a range of neurodegenerative conditions, including Alzheimer's disease, stroke, and Parkinson's disease. Although homocysteine-induced apoptosis in neurons has been extensively studied, little information is available regarding the effect of homocysteine on microglia. In this report, we demonstrated that homocysteine promoted proliferation and up-regulated the expression of CD11b (a marker of microglial activation). Consistent with our in vitro results, a significant increase in the number of CD11b-positive microglia was also observed in brain sections of mice with hyperhomocysteinemia. Homocysteine promoted the activity of NAD(P)H oxidases, resulting in the generation of reactive oxygen species. Up-regulation of NAD(P)H oxidase activity by homocysteine appears to be due to its ability to induce the phosphorylation of p47phox through the p38 MAPK pathway. Furthermore, inhibition of reactive oxygen species significantly blocked cellular proliferation and activation in microglia. Since microglial proliferation and activation play an important role in the development of several neurodegenerative disorders, our results reveal a novel role of homocysteine in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases.
Copyright © 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Study Information

Homocysteine promotes proliferation and activation of microglia.
Neurobiol Aging.
2010 December

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