Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common form of incurable dementia and represents a critical public health issue as the world’s population ages. Although microglial dysregulation is a cardinal feature of AD, the extensive heterogeneity of these immunological cells in the brain has impeded our understanding of their contribution to this disease. Here, we identify a pathogenic microglial subset which expresses the CD11c surface marker as the sole producer of Osteopontin (OPN) in the 5XFAD mouse model of AD. OPN production divides Disease-Associated Microglia (DAM) into two functionally distinct subsets, i.e., a protective CD11c+OPN− subset that robustly ingests amyloid β (Aβ) in a noninflammatory fashion and a pathogenic CD11c+OPN+ subset that produces proinflammatory cytokines and fails to ingest significant amounts of Aβ. Genetic ablation of OPN or administration of monoclonal anti-OPN antibody to 5XFAD mice reduces proinflammatory microglia, plaque formation, and numbers of dystrophic neurites and results in improved cognitive function. Analysis of brain tissue from AD patients indicates that levels of OPN-producing CD11c+ microglia correlate strongly with the degree of cognitive deficit and AD neuropathology. These findings define an OPN-dependent pathway to disease driven by a distinct microglial subset, and identify OPN as a novel therapeutic target for potentially effective immunotherapy to treat AD.
|Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
|Published - 7 Feb 2023
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Copyright © 2023 the Author(s). Published by PNAS.
- Alzheimer’s disease