Activin A increases phagocytosis of Escherichia coli K1 by primary murine microglial cells activated by toll-like receptor agonists

  • Background: Bacterial meningitis is associated with high mortality and long-term neurological sequelae. Increasing the phagocytic activity of microglia could improve the resistance of the CNS against infections. We studied the influence of activin A, a member of the TGF-β family with known immunoregulatory and neuroprotective effects, on the functions of microglial cells in vitro. Methods: Primary murine microglial cells were treated with activin A (0.13 ng/ml–13 μg/ml) alone or in combination with agonists of TLR2, 4, and 9. Phagocytosis of Escherichia coli K1 as well as release of TNF-α, IL-6, CXCL1, and NO was assessed. Results: Activin A dose-dependently enhanced the phagocytosis of Escherichia coli K1 by microglial cells activated by agonists of TLR2, 4, and 9 without further increasing NO and proinflammatory cytokine release. Cell viability of microglial cells was not affected by activin A. Conclusions: Priming of microglial cells with activin A could increase the elimination of bacteria in bacterial CNS infections. This preventive strategy could improve the resistance of the brain to infections, particularly in elderly and immunocompromised patients.

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Author:Catharina Diesselberg, Sandra Ribes, Jana Seele, Annika Kaufmann, Sandra Redlich, Stephanie Bunkowski, Uwe-Karsten Hanisch, Uwe Michel, Roland Nau, Sandra Schütze
Pubmed Id:
Parent Title (English):Journal of neuroinflammation
Publisher:BioMed Central
Place of publication:London
Document Type:Article
Year of Completion:2018
Date of first Publication:2018/06/07
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2018/06/14
Tag:Activin; Bacterial meningitis; CNS infection; E. coli; Innate immune system; Nitric oxide; Phagocytosis; Proinflammatory cytokines; TLR
Issue:1, Art. 175
Page Number:11
First Page:1
Last Page:11
Open Access: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Institutes:keine Angabe Fachbereich / Extern
Dewey Decimal Classification:6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 61 Medizin und Gesundheit / 610 Medizin und Gesundheit
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0