Suppressing interferon-γ stimulates microglial responses and repair of microbleeds in the diabetic brain

Stephanie Taylor, Eslam Mehina, Emily White, Patrick Reeson, Kevin Yongblah, Kristian P. Doyle, Craig E. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Microcirculatory damage is a common complication for those with vascular risk factors, such as diabetes. To resolve vascular insults, the brain’s immune cells (microglia) must rapidly envelop the site of injury. Currently, it is unknown whether Type 1 diabetes, a condition associated with chronic immune system dysfunction, alters microglial responses to damage and what mechanisms are responsible. Using in vivo two-photon microscopy in adult male mice, we show that microglial envelopment of laser-induced cerebral microbleeds is diminished in a hyperglycemic mouse model of Type 1 diabetes, which could not be fully rescued with chronic insulin treatment. Microglia were important for vessel repair because reduced microglial accumulation in diabetic mice or near-complete depletion in healthy controls was associated with greater secondary leakage of the damaged vessel. Broadly suppressing inflammation with dexamethasone in diabetic mice but not healthy controls, significantly enhanced microglial responses to microbleeds and attenuated secondary vessel leakage. These enhancements were associated with changes in IFN-γ signaling because dexamethasone suppressed abnormally high levels of IFN-γ protein levels in brain and blood serum of diabetic mice. Further, blocking IFN-γ in diabetic mice with neutralizing antibodies restored normal microglial chemotaxic responses and purinoceptor P2ry12 gene expression, as well as mitigated secondary leakage. These results suggest that abnormal IFN-γ signaling disrupts microglial function in the diabetic brain, and that immunothera-pies targeting IFN-γ can stimulate microglial repair of damaged vessels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8707-8722
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number40
StatePublished - Oct 3 2018


  • Diabetes
  • Inflammation
  • Interferon
  • Microbleeds
  • Microglia
  • Repair

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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