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Recent studies show that necrotic neuronal cells (NNC) activate microglia, thereby leading to neuronal cell death. This suggests that chemicals that inhibit microglia activation may be used as neuroprotective drugs. In this context, we screened a chemical library for inhibitors of microglia activation. Using a screening system based on a nitrite assay, we isolated two chemicals that inhibit nitric oxide (NO) release from activated microglia: triamcinolone acetonide (TA) and amcinonide. The half-maximal inhibitory concentrations (IC50) of TA and amcinonide for NO release inhibition were 1.78 nM and 3.38 nM, respectively. These chemicals also inhibited NNC-induced expression of the proinflammatory genes iNOS, TNF-α, and IL-1β in glial cells. A study based on a luciferase assay revealed that TA attenuated NNC-induced microglia activation by blocking the NF-κB signaling pathway. In addition, TA protected cortical neurons in coculture with microglia from LPS/IFN-γ-induced neuronal cell death. In conclusion, TA may inhibit microglia activation and may protect neuronal cells from death induced by microglial activation.


Jinpyo Hong, Bo-Kyong Kim, Hyoungsub Lim, Soojin Lee, Sung Joong Lee. Identification and characterization of triamcinolone acetonide, a microglial-activation inhibitor. Immunopharmacology and immunotoxicology. 2012 Dec;34(6):912-8

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PMID: 22551518

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