Neuropathology. 2011 Aug;31(4):363-75. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1789.2010.01174.x. Epub 2010 Dec 1.
Immunohistochemical characterization of microglia in Nasu-Hakola disease brains.
Nasu-Hakola disease (NHD) is a rare autosomal recessive disorder, characterized by progressive presenile dementia and formation of multifocal bone cysts, caused by genetic mutations of DNAX-activation protein 12 (DAP12) or triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 (TREM2). TREM2 and DAP12 constitute a receptor/adapter signaling complex expressed on osteoclasts, dendritic cells (DC), macrophages and microglia. Previous studies using knockout mice and mouse brain cell cultures suggest that a loss-of-function of DAP12/TREM2 in microglia plays a central role in the neuropathological manifestation of NHD. However, there exist no immunohistochemical studies that focus attention on microglia in NHD brains. To elucidate a role of microglia in the pathogenesis of NHD, we searched NHD-specific biomarkers and characterized their expression on microglia in NHD brains. Here, we identified allograft inflammatory factor 1 (AIF1, Iba1) and sialic acid binding Ig-like lectin 1 (SIGLEC1) as putative NHD-specific biomarkers by bioinformatics analysis of microarray data of NHD DC. We studied three NHD and eight control brains by immunohistochemistry with a panel of 16 antibodies, including those against Iba1 and SIGLEC1. We verified the absence of DAP12 expression in NHD brains and the expression of DAP12 immunoreactivity on ramified microglia in control brains. Unexpectedly, TREM2 was not expressed on microglia but expressed on a small subset of intravascular monocytes/macrophages in control and NHD brains. In the cortex of NHD brains, we identified accumulation of numerous Iba1-positive microglia to an extent similar to control brains, while SIGLEC1 was undetectable on microglia in all the brains examined. These observations indicate that human microglia in brain tissues do not express TREM2 and DAP12-deficient microglia are preserved in NHD brains, suggesting that the loss of DAP2/TREM2 function in microglia might not be primarily responsible for the neuropathological phenotype of NHD.