A Novel Microglia-Specific Transcriptional Signature Correlates With Behavioral Deficits in Neuropsychiatric Lupus

Hadijat M. Makinde, Deborah R. Winter, Daniele Procissi, Elise V. Mike, Ariel D. Stock, Mary J. Kando, Gaurav T. Gadhvi, Steven Droho, Christina L. Bloomfield, Salina T. Dominguez, Maximilian G. Mayr, Jeremy A. Lavine, Chaim Putterman, Carla M. Cuda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Neuropsychiatric symptoms of systemic lupus erythematosus (NP-SLE) affect over one-half of SLE patients, yet underlying mechanisms remain largely unknown. We demonstrate that SLE-prone mice (CReCOM) develop NP-SLE, including behavioral deficits prior to systemic autoimmunity, reduced brain volumes, decreased vascular integrity, and brain-infiltrating leukocytes. NP-SLE microglia exhibit numerical expansion, increased synaptic uptake, and a more metabolically active phenotype. Microglia from multiple SLE-prone models express a “NP-SLE signature” unrelated to type I interferon. Rather, the signature is associated with lipid metabolism, scavenger receptor activity and downregulation of inflammatory and chemotaxis processes, suggesting a more regulatory, anti-inflammatory profile. NP-SLE microglia also express genes associated with disease-associated microglia (DAM), a subset of microglia thought to be instrumental in neurodegenerative diseases. Further, expression of “NP-SLE” and “DAM” signatures correlate with the severity of behavioral deficits in young SLE-prone mice prior to overt systemic disease. Our data are the first to demonstrate the predictive value of our newly identified microglia-specific “NP-SLE” and “DAM” signatures as a surrogate for NP-SLE clinical outcomes and suggests that microglia-intrinsic defects precede contributions from systemic SLE for neuropsychiatric manifestations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number230
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
StatePublished - 26 Feb 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright © 2020 Makinde, Winter, Procissi, Mike, Stock, Kando, Gadhvi, Droho, Bloomfield, Dominguez, Mayr, Lavine, Putterman and Cuda.


  • DAM
  • NP-SLE
  • SLE
  • behavior
  • interferon
  • lupus
  • microglia


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