Microglial VPS35 deficiency regulates microglial polarization and decreases ischemic stroke-induced damage in the cortex

Shi Yang Ye, Joanna E. Apple, Xiao Ren, Fu Lei Tang, Ling Ling Yao, Yong Gang Wang, Lin Mei, Yuan Guo Zhou, Wen Cheng Xiong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background: Vacuolar sorting protein 35 (VPS35), a critical component of retromer, is essential for selective endosome-to-Golgi retrieval of membrane proteins. It is highly expressed in microglial cells, in addition to neurons. We have previously demonstrated microglial VPS35's functions in preventing hippocampal, but not cortical, microglial activation, and in promoting adult hippocampal neurogenesis. However, microglial VPS35's role in the cortex in response to ischemic stroke remains largely unclear. Methods: We used mice with VPS35 cKO (conditional knockout) in microglial cells and examined and compared their responses to ischemic stroke with control mice. The brain damage, cell death, changes in glial cells and gene expression, and sensorimotor deficits were assessed by a combination of immunohistochemical and immunofluorescence staining, RT-PCR, Western blot, and neurological functional behavior tests. Results: We found that microglial VPS35 loss results in an increase of anti-inflammatory microglia in mouse cortex after ischemic stroke. The ischemic stroke-induced brain injury phenotypes, including brain damage, neuronal death, and sensorimotor deficits, were all attenuated by microglial VPS35-deficiency. Further analysis of protein expression changes revealed a reduction in CX3CR1 (CX3C chemokine receptor 1) in microglial VPS35-deficient cortex after ischemic stroke, implicating CX3CR1 as a potential cargo of VPS35 in this event. Conclusion: Together, these results reveal an unrecognized function of microglial VPS35 in enhancing ischemic brain injury-induced inflammatory microglia, but suppressing the injury-induced anti-inflammatory microglia. Consequently, microglial VPS35 cKO mice exhibit attenuation of ischemic brain injury response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number235
JournalJournal of Neuroinflammation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 26 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • CX3CR1
  • Ischemic brain injury
  • Microglia
  • VPS35

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Immunology
  • Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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