February 25, 2021

Microglial NF-κB drives tau spreading and toxicity in a mouse model of tauopathy

Activation of microglia, the innate immune cells in brain, is a prominent pathological feature in tauopathies, including Alzheimers disease. How microglia activation contributes to tau toxicity remains largely unknown. Here we show that nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-{kappa}B) signaling, activated by tau, drives microglial-mediated tau propagation and toxicity. Constitutive activation of microglial NF-{kappa}B exacerbated, while inactivation diminished, tau seeding and spreading in PS19 mice, consistent with the observation that NF-{kappa}B activation accelerates processing of internalized tau fibrils in primary microglia. Remarkably, inhibition of microglial NF-{kappa}B specifically also rescued tau-mediated learning and memory deficits, and restored overall transcriptomic changes while increasing tau inclusions. On a single cell level, we discovered that tau-associated disease states in microglia were diminished by NF-{kappa}B inactivation and further transformed by constitutive NF-{kappa}B activation. Our study establishes a central role for microglial NF-{kappa}B signaling in mediating tau toxicity in tauopathy.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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