Murine iPSC-derived microglia and macrophage cell culture models recapitulate distinct phenotypical and functional properties of classical and alternative neuro-immune polarisation
Brain, behavior, and immunity
The establishment and validation of reliable induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived in vitro models to study microglia and monocyte/macrophage immune function holds great potential for fundamental and translational neuro-immunology research. In this study, we first demonstrate that ramified CX3CR1+ iPSC-microglia (cultured within a neural environment) and round-shaped CX3CR1- iPSC-macrophages can easily be differentiated from newly established murine CX3CR1eGFP/+CCR2RFP/+ iPSC lines.
... ermore, we show that obtained murine iPSC-microglia and iPSC-macrophages are distinct cell populations, even though iPSC-macrophages may upregulate CX3CR1 expression when cultured within a neural environment. Next, we characterized the phenotypical and functional properties of murine iPSC-microglia and iPSC-macrophages following classical and alternative immune polarisation. While iPSC-macrophages could easily be triggered to adopt a classically-activated or alternatively-activated phenotype following, respectively, lipopolysaccharide + interferon γ or interleukin 13 (IL13) stimulation, iPSC-microglia and iPSC-macrophages cultured within a neural environment displayed a more moderate activation profile as characterised by the absence of MHCII expression upon classical immune polarisation and the absence of Ym1 expression upon alternative immune polarisation. Finally, extending our preceding in vivo studies, this striking phenotypical divergence was also observed for resident microglia and infiltrating monocytes within highly inflammatory cortical lesions in CX3CR1eGFP/+CCR2RFP/+ mice subjected to middle cerebral arterial occlusion (MCAO) stroke and following IL13-mediated therapeutic intervention thereon. In conclusion, our study demonstrates that the applied murine iPSC-microglia and iPSC-macrophage culture models are able to recapitulate in vivo microglia and monocyte/macrophage ontogeny and corresponding phenotypical/functional properties upon classical and alternative immune polarisation, and therefore represent a valuable in vitro platform to further study and modulate microglia and (infiltrating) monocyte immune responses under neuro-inflammatory conditions within a neural environment.