• astrogliosis;
  • HOE 642;
  • inflammation;
  • microglia;
  • phagocytosis

J. Neurochem. (2011) 119, 124–135.


Our recent study reveals that Na+/H+ exchanger isoform 1 (NHE-1) mediates H+ extrusion during “respiratory bursting”, which is important for microglial activation. In the present study, we further investigated whether NHE-1 plays a role in proinflammatory activation of microglia in vivo using a mouse model of transient focal cerebral ischemia and reperfusion (I/R). Activated microglial cells were identified by their expression of two microglial marker proteins (CD11b and Iba1) as well as by their transformation from a “ramified” to an “amoeboid” morphology. An immediate increase in activated microglial numbers was detected in the ipsilateral ischemic core area of NHE-1+/+ brains at 1 hour (h) I/1 h R, which gradually decreased during 6–24 h I/R. This was followed by a sharp rise in microglial activation in the peri-infarct area and an increase in proinflammatory cytokine formation at 3 day after I/R. Interestingly, HOE 642 (a potent NHE-1 inhibitor) -treated or NHE-1 heterozygous (NHE-1+/−) mice exhibited less microglia activation, less NADPH oxidase activation, or a reduced proinflammatory response at 3–7 day after I/R. Blocking NHE-1 activity also significantly decreased microglial phagocytosis in vitro. In contrast, astrogliosis formation in the peri-infarct area was not affected by NHE-1 inhibition. Taken together, our results demonstrate that NHE-1 protein was abundantly expressed in activated microglia and astrocytes. NHE-1 inhibition reduced microglial proinflammatory activation following ischemia.