Microglia in post-mortem brain tissue of patients with bipolar disorder are not immune activated

Marjolein A M Sneeboer, Gijsje J L J Snijders, Woutje M Berdowski, Alba Fernández-Andreu, , Hans C van Mierlo, Amber Berdenis van Berlekom, Manja Litjens, René S Kahn, Elly M Hol, Lot D de Witte

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Genetic, epidemiological, and biomarker studies suggest that the immune system is involved in the pathogenesis of bipolar disorder (BD). It has therefore been hypothesized that immune activation of microglia, the resident immune cells of the brain, is associated with the disease. Only a few studies have addressed the involvement of microglia in BD so far and a more detailed immune profiling of microglial activation is lacking. Here, we applied a multi-level approach to determine the activation state of microglia in BD post-mortem brain tissue. We did not find differences in microglial density, and mRNA expression of microglial markers in the medial frontal gyrus (MFG) of patients with BD. Furthermore, we performed in-depth characterization of human primary microglia isolated from fresh brain tissue of the MFG, superior temporal gyrus (STG), and thalamus (THA). Similarly, these ex vivo isolated microglia did not show elevated expression of inflammatory markers. Finally, challenging the isolated microglia with LPS did not result in an increased immune response in patients with BD compared to controls. In conclusion, our study shows that microglia in post-mortem brain tissue of patients with BD are not immune activated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153
JournalTranslational Psychiatry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019

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