Neuroinflammation is associated with essentially every neurological disorder, neurodegenerative disease, and neurodevelopmental disorder. In the brain, regulation of an inflammatory response is under the control of specific cells known as microglia, They coordinate CNS inflammation by an intricate communication network with other intrinsic cellular components to shape inflammatory responses. Brain macrophages exist in various states of activation within injured tissue and retain the capability to shift their functional phenotype within specific stages of the inflammatory response. Like other tissue macrophages, microglia provide the first line of defense against invading microbes;yet, remain unique in their ability to detect critical changes in neuronal activity and health. They are capable of actively monitoring and controlling the extracellular environment, walling off areas of the CNS from non-CNS tissue, and removing dead or damaged cells. We have examined the process by which the microglia can be altered as a function of development, aging, and in disease states such as schizophrenia and as a function of environmental factors. We are interested in determining the regulatory factors that influence the microglia response to brain injury and whether this can be altered by environmental factors. Much of our work has been associated with identifying markers of microglia activation state/polarization and understanding the functional associations with each state (phagocytosis, chemotaxis, shifts in mitochondrial bioenergetics). To evaluate the impact of pro-inflammatory cytokines on the brain repair response we have developed a model system to examine the progenitor cell population from the subgranular zone of the hippocampus at different ages. Using this system as well as the in vivo model we are examining the influence of microglia and pro-inflammatory cytokines on the proliferation and differentiation of neural progenitor cells and how drug or toxicant exposure can influence this process to enhance or hinder repair. We are using this model to identify novel signaling factors that can promote adult neurogenesis and improve brain repair and cognitive functioning. We have identified a possible pivot point distinguishing beneficial versus detrimental effects on neural progenitor cells in the hippocampus of adolescent mice in the interleukin 1 activation of the inflammasome. For these studies we continue to use a number of methods to examine alterations in the developing nervous system following exposure to environmental agents including immunohistochemistry, con-focal imaging, flow cytometry, seahorse mitochondrial bioenergetics, molecular techniques to examine mRNA level such as qRT-PCR, microarray, RNase protection assays, neuroprogenitor cell cultures, adult derived neural stem/progenitor cells, as well as assessment of neurobehavioral functioning.

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McPherson, C A; Merrick, B A; Harry, G J (2014) In vivo molecular markers for pro-inflammatory cytokine M1 stage and resident microglia in trimethyltin-induced hippocampal injury. Neurotox Res 25:45-56
Awada, Rana; Saulnier-Blache, Jean Sébastien; Grès, Sandra et al. (2014) Autotaxin downregulates LPS-induced microglia activation and pro-inflammatory cytokines production. J Cell Biochem 115:2123-32
Harry, G Jean (2013) Microglia during development and aging. Pharmacol Ther 139:313-26
Muessel, Michelle J; Harry, G Jean; Armstrong, David L et al. (2013) SDF-1* and LPA modulate microglia potassium channels through rho gtpases to regulate cell morphology. Glia 61:1620-8
Rao, Jagadeesh Sridhara; Kim, Hyung-Wook; Harry, Gaylia Jean et al. (2013) Increased neuroinflammatory and arachidonic acid cascade markers, and reduced synaptic proteins, in the postmortem frontal cortex from schizophrenia patients. Schizophr Res 147:24-31
McPherson, Christopher A; Kraft, Andrew D; Harry, G Jean (2011) Injury-induced neurogenesis: consideration of resident microglia as supportive of neural progenitor cells. Neurotox Res 19:341-52
Persaud-Sawin, Dixie-Ann; Lightcap, Samantha; Harry, G Jean (2009) Isolation of rafts from mouse brain tissue by a detergent-free method. J Lipid Res 50:759-67
Dosunmu, Remi; Wu, Jinfang; Adwan, Lina et al. (2009) Lifespan profiles of Alzheimer's disease-associated genes and products in monkeys and mice. J Alzheimers Dis 18:211-30