Fatty Acid-Binding Protein 4 is Essential for the Inflammatory and Metabolic Response of Microglia to Lipopolysaccharide

Yoshiteru Kagawa, Yi Ling Low, Jae Pyun, Umberto Doglione, Jennifer L. Short, Yijun Pan, Joseph A. Nicolazzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Prolonged activation of microglia leads to excessive release of proinflammatory mediators, which are detrimental to brain health. Therefore, there are significant efforts to identify pathways mediating microglial activation. Recent studies have demonstrated that fatty acid-binding protein 4 (FABP4), a lipid binding protein, is a critical player in macrophage–mediated inflammation. Given that we have previously identified FABP4 in microglia, the aim of this study was to assess whether FABP4 activity contributed to inflammation, metabolism and immune function (i.e. immunometabolism) in immortalised mouse microglia (BV-2 cells) using the proinflammatory stimulus lipopolysaccharide (LPS) to induce general microglial activation. Microglial FABP4 expression was significantly increased following exposure to LPS, an outcome associated with a significant increase in microglial proliferation rate. LPS-stimulated BV-2 microglia demonstrated a significant increase in the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), phosphorylation of c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), increased expression of Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4), and reduced expression of uncoupling protein 2 (UCP2), all of which were reversed following FABP4 genetic silencing and chemical inhibition with BMS309403. The oxidation rate of 3H-oleic acid and microglial uptake of 3H-2-deoxy-D-glucose were modulated with LPS activation, processes which were restored with genetic and chemical inhibition of FABP4. This is the first study to report on the critical role of FABP4 in mediating the deleterious effects of LPS on microglial immunometabolism, suggesting that FABP4 may present as a novel therapeutic target to alleviate microglia-mediated neuroinflammation, a commonly reported factor in multiple neurodegenerative diseases. Graphical Abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)448-461
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023


  • Fatty acid-binding protein 4
  • Immunometabolism
  • Microglia
  • Neuroinflammation
  • Uncoupling protein 2

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