Pyrethroid insecticides directly activate microglia through interaction with voltage-gated sodium channels

Microglia are considered to be the resident immune cells of the central nervous system and contribute significantly to ongoing neuroinflammation in a variety of neurodegenerative diseases. Recently, it has been identified that voltage-gated sodium channels (VGSC) are present on microglia cells and contribute to excessive accumulation of intracellular Na(+) and release of major pro-inflammatory cytokine tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-?). Based on this finding and the fact that pyrethroid pesticides act on VGSC, the authors hypothesised that exposure of microglia to the pyrethroid pesticides, permethrin and deltamethrin, would activate microglia and increase the release of TNF-?. BV2 cells or primary microglia were treated with 0-5 ?M deltamethrin or permethrin in the presence or absence of tetrodotoxin (TTX), a VGSC blocker for 24-48 hr. Both pyrethroids caused a rapid Na(+) influx and increased accumulation of intracellular sodium [(Na+)i] in the microglia in a dose- and time-dependent manner, which was significantly reduced by TTX. Furthermore, deltamethrin and permethrin increased the release of TNF-? in a dose- and time-dependent manner, which was significantly reduced by pre-treatment of cells with TTX. These results demonstrate that pyrethroid pesticides may directly activate microglial cells through their interaction with microglial VGSC. Because neuroinflammation plays a key role in many neurodegenerative diseases, these data provide an additional mechanism by which exposure to pyrethroid insecticides may contribute to neurodegeneration.

Authors: Hossain MM, Liu J, Richardson JR. ;Full Source: Toxicological Sciences. 2016 Sep 21. pii: kfw187. [Epub ahead of print] ;