Transcriptomic and functional analysis of Aβ1-42 oligomer-stimulated human monocyte-derived microglia-like cells

Tamar Smit, Paul R Ormel, Jacqueline A Sluijs, Lianne A Hulshof, Jinte Middeldorp, Lot D de Witte, Elly M Hol, Vanessa Donega

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Dysregulation of microglial function contributes to Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathogenesis. Several genetic and transcriptome studies have revealed microglia specific genetic risk factors, and changes in microglia expression profiles in AD pathogenesis, viz. the human-Alzheimer's microglia/myeloid (HAM) profile in AD patients and the disease-associated microglia profile (DAM) in AD mouse models. The transcriptional changes involve genes in immune and inflammatory pathways, and in pathways associated with Aβ clearance. Aβ oligomers have been suggested to be the initial trigger of microglia activation in AD. To study the direct response to Aβ oligomers exposure, we assessed changes in gene expression in an in vitro model for microglia, the human monocyte-derived microglial-like (MDMi) cells. We confirmed the initiation of an inflammatory profile following LPS stimulation, based on increased expression of IL1B, IL6, and TNFα. In contrast, the Aβ1-42 oligomers did not induce an inflammatory profile or a classical HAM profile. Interestingly, we observed a specific increase in the expression of metallothioneins in the Aβ1-42 oligomer treated MDMi cells. Metallothioneins are involved in metal ion regulation, protection against reactive oxygen species, and have anti-inflammatory properties. In conclusion, our data suggests that exposure to Aβ1-42 oligomers may initially trigger a protective response in vitro.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-230
Number of pages12
JournalBrain, behavior, and immunity
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Aβ oligomers
  • Metallothioneins
  • Microglia
  • Transcriptome

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