In prion disease, a profound microglial activation that precedes neurodegeneration has been observed in the CNS. It is still not fully elucidated whether microglial activation has beneficial effects in terms of prion clearance or whether microglial cells have a mainly detrimental function through the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines. To date, no disease-modifying therapy exists. Several immunization attempts have been performed as one therapeutic approach. Recently, naturally occurring autoantibodies against the prion protein (nAbs-PrP) have been detected. These autoantibodies are able to break down fibrils of the most commonly used mutant prion variant PrP106-126 A117V and prevent PrP106-126 A117V-induced toxicity in primary neurons. In this study, we examined the phagocytosis of the prion peptide PrP106-126 A117V by primary microglial cells and the effect of nAbs-PrP on microglia. nAbs-PrP considerably enhanced the uptake of PrP106-126 A117V without inducing an inflammatory response in microglial cells. PrP106-126 A117V uptake was at least partially mediated through scavenger receptors. Phagocytosis of PrP106-126 A117V with nAbs-PrP was inhibited by wortmannin, a potent phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase inhibitor, indicating a separate uptake mechanism for nAbs-PrP mediated phagocytosis. These data suggest the possible mechanisms of action of nAbs-PrP in prion disease. © 2013 Roettger et al.
Roettger, Y., Zerr, I., Dodel, R., & Bach, J. P. (2013). Prion Peptide Uptake in Microglial Cells - The Effect of Naturally Occurring Autoantibodies against Prion Protein. PLoS ONE, 8(6). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0067743