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Microglial PD-1 Stimulation by Astrocytic PD-L1 Suppresses Neuroinflammation and Alzheimer's Disease Pathology


Chronic neuroinflammation is a pathogenic component of Alzheimer's disease (AD) that may limit the ability of the brain to clear amyloid deposits and cellular debris. Tight control of the immune system is therefore key to sustain the ability of the brain to repair itself during homeostasis and disease. The immune-cell checkpoint receptor/ligand pair PD-1/PD-L1, known for their inhibitory immune function, is expressed also in the brain. Here, we report upregulated expression of PD-L1 and PD-1 in astrocytes and microglia, respectively, surrounding amyloid plaques in AD patients and in the APP/PS1 AD mouse model. We observed juxtamembrane shedding of PD-L1 from astrocytes, which may mediate ectodomain signaling to PD-1-expressing microglia. Deletion of microglial PD-1 evoked an inflammatory response and compromised amyloid-β peptide (Aβ) uptake. APP/PS1 mice deficient for PD-1 exhibited increased deposition of Aβ, reduced microglial Aβ uptake, and decreased expression of the Aβ receptor CD36 on microglia. Therefore, ineffective immune regulation by the PD-1/PD-L1 axis contributes to Aβ plaque deposition during chronic neuroinflammation in AD.


Kummer, M. P., Ising, C., Kummer, C., Sarlus, H., Griep, A., Vieira‐Saecker, A., ... & Heneka, M. T. (2021). Microglial PD‐1 stimulation by astrocytic PD‐L1 suppresses neuroinflammation and Alzheimer's disease pathology. The EMBO journal, 40(24), e108662.

For Research Use Only. Not For Clinical Use.
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