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    Immune responses to neonatal hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) exacerbate brain injury. Phagocytes, including microglia, play a central role in the immune response, but how the activation of phagocytes is regulated remains elusive. Previously, we have reported that interferon regulatory factor 5 (IRF5) signaling is closely correlated with a pro-inflammatory microglial phenotype in adult mice after stroke. The present study investigated IRF5's regulatory role in post-HIE inflammation. Male IRF5 conditional knockout (CKO) and IRF5fl/fl postnatal day 10 (P10) pups were subjected to the Rice-Vannucci model (RVM) to induce HIE. Outcomes including morphological and neurobehavioral changes were evaluated at day 7 after HIE. Microglia/macrophage phenotypes and inflammatory responses were evaluated by flow cytometry (FC), RT-PCR, and multiplex cytokine assays. Lenti-IRF5 virus was administered in microglia-neuron co-cultures to evaluate the effects of microglial IRF5 upregulation in ischemic neurons exposed to oxygen-glucose deprivation (OGD). Deletion of phagocytic IRF5 resulted in significantly decreased IRF5 expression, attenuated pro-inflammatory and enhanced anti-inflammatory responses to HIE, and improved outcomes compared with IRF5fl/fl control pups. In vitro lentivirus transfection experiments revealed that overexpression of IRF5 in microglia amplified pro-inflammatory signals and exacerbated OGD-induced neuronal apoptosis and neurite fragmentation. IRF5 signaling mediates microglial pro-inflammatory activation and also affects anti-inflammatory responses. Phagocytic IRF5 signaling is detrimental in HIE and is a potential therapeutic target for post-ischemic inflammation.


    Abdullah Al Mamun, Haifu Yu, Romana Sharmeen, Louise D McCullough, Fudong Liu. IRF5 Signaling in Phagocytes Is Detrimental to Neonatal Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy. Translational stroke research. 2021 Aug;12(4):602-614

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    PMID: 32761315

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