Microglial CX3CR1 promotes adult neurogenesis by inhibiting Sirt 1/p65 signaling independent of CX3CL1

Sabine Sellner, Ricardo Paricio-Montesinos, Alena Spieß, Annette Masuch, Daniel Erny, Laura A. Harsan, Dominik V. Elverfeldt, Marius Schwabenland, Knut Biber, Ori Staszewski, Sergio Lira, Steffen Jung, Marco Prinz, Thomas Blank

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Homo and heterozygote cx3cr1 mutant mice, which harbor a green fluorescent protein (EGFP) in their cx3cr1 loci, represent a widely used animal model to study microglia and peripheral myeloid cells. Here we report that microglia in the dentate gyrus (DG) of cx3cr1-/- mice displayed elevated microglial sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) expression levels and nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-kB) p65 activation, despite unaltered morphology when compared to cx3cr1+/- or cx3cr1+/+ controls. This phenotype was restricted to the DG and accompanied by reduced adult neurogenesis in cx3cr1-/- mice. Remarkably, adult neurogenesis was not affected by the lack of the CX3CR1-ligand, fractalkine (CX3CL1). Mechanistically, pharmacological activation of SIRT1 improved adult neurogenesis in the DG together with an enhanced performance of cx3cr1-/- mice in a hippocampusdependent learning and memory task. The reverse condition was induced when SIRT1 was inhibited in cx3cr1-/- mice, causing reduced adult neurogenesis and lowered hippocampal cognitive abilities. In conclusion, our data indicate that deletion of CX3CR1 from microglia under resting conditions modifies brain areas with elevated cellular turnover independent of CX3CL1.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102
JournalActa neuropathologica communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2016


  • Adult neurogenesis
  • Microglia
  • Morphometry
  • Sirtuin 1
  • Water maze


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