Epidemiological studies have reported that elderly patients with metabolic syndrome (MetS) are significantly more likely to develop neuronal degenerative diseases than those without MetS. Our previous study showed that patients with MetS had significantly higher levels of negatively charged very low density lipoproteins (VLDLs) in the plasma than healthy controls. Highly electronegative VLDL is a key risk factor for endothelial dysfunction and atrial fibrillation. However, the impact of negatively charged VLDL in brain immunity remains unclear. In this study, VLDLs were isolated from normal healthy (nVLDL) individuals or patients with MetS (metVLDL). Primary astroglia and microglia mixed cell cultures as well as microglial-enriched cultures were used to test the effects of VLDLs. Microglia/astroglia activation as evidenced by their morphological changes and production of pro-inflammatory factors, such as tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), were assessed by immunofluorescence staining and ELISA, respectively. Our results showed that metVLDLs mainly act on the microglia, and not the astroglia, with low concentration (0.05–0.5 μg/mL) inducing cell morphological changes and decreased cellular processes in the microglia. However, nVLDL treatment at these concentrations had no effects on microglia and astroglia. Most importantly, TNF-α and PGE2 levels significantly increased in the microglia treated with metVLDL via a dose-dependent manner. Together, our data indicate that metVLDLs can contribute to MetS-associated brain disorders through microglia activation and neuroinflammation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy