We previously reported that an optimal dose of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) markedly extends the lifespan of murine primary-cultured microglia by suppressing cell death pathways. In this study, we investigated the effects of LPS pretreatment on UV light-induced apoptosis of cells from the microglial cell line BV-2. More than half of BV-2 cells were apoptotic, and procaspase-3 was cleaved into its active form at 3 h of UV irradiation. In contrast, in BV-2 cells treated with LPS for 24 h, UV irradiation caused neither apoptosis nor procaspase-3 cleavage. LPS treatment arrested the cell cycle in G1 phase and upregulated cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p21Waf1/Cip1 and growth arrest and DNA damage-inducible (GADD) 45α in BV-2 cells. When p21Waf1/Cip1 and GADD45α were knocked down by small interfering RNA, procaspase-3 was cleaved into its active form to induce apoptosis. Our findings suggest that LPS inhibits UV-induced apoptosis in BV-2 cells through arrest of the cell cycle in G1 phase by upregulation of p21Waf1/Cip1 and GADD45α. Excessive activation of microglia may play a critical role in the exacerbation of neurodegeneration, therefore, normalizing the precise regulation of apoptosis may be a new strategy to prevent the deterioration caused by neurodegenerative disorders.
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