Interleukin (IL)-10, an anti-inflammatory cytokine, is expressed in the brain and can inhibit microglial activation. Herein, we utilized lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced inflammatory Parkinson’s disease (PD) cell model to determine whether microglia and astrocytes are necessary targets for IL-10 neuroprotection. Primary ventral mesencephalic (VM) cultures with different composition of neurons, microglia and astrocytes were prepared. The cells were exposed to IL-10 (15, 50 or 150 ng/mL) 1 h prior to LPS (50 ng/mL) treatment. LPS induced dopaminergic and non-dopaminergic neuronal loss in VM cultures, VM neuron-enriched cultures, and neuron-microglia co-cultures, but not in neuron-astrocyte co-cultures. IL-10 reduced LPS-induced neuronal loss particularly in single VM neuron cultures. Pro-inflammatory mediators (TNF-α, IL-1β, inducible nitric oxide synthase and cyclooxygenase-2) were upregulated in both neuron-microglia and neuron-astrocyte co-cultures by LPS. In contrast, neurotrophic factors (brain-derived neurotrophic factor, insulin-like growth factor-1 or glial cell-derived neurotrophic factor) were downregulated in neuron-microglia co-cultures, but upregulated in neuron-astrocyte co-cultures by LPS. IL-10 reduced both the increase in production of the pro-inflammatory mediators and the decrease in production of the neurotrophic factors induced by LPS. These results suggest that astrocytes can balance LPS neurotoxicity by releasing more neurotrophic factors and that IL-10 exerts neuroprotective property by an extensive action including direct on neurons and indirect via inhibiting microglial activation.
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