Oncostatin M promotes excitotoxicity by inhibiting glutamate uptake in astrocytes: Implications in HIV-associated neurotoxicity

Shamsudheen Moidunny, Marco Matos, Evelyn Wesseling, Santanu Banerjee, David J. Volsky, Rodrigo A. Cunha, Paula Agostinho, Hendrikus W. Boddeke, Sabita Roy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Background: Elevated levels of oncostatin M (OSM), an interleukin-6 cytokine family member, have been observed in HIV-1-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) and Alzheimer's disease. However, the function of OSM in these disease conditions is unclear. Since deficient glutamate uptake by astrocytes is instrumental in HAND-associated neurotoxicity, we hypothesized that OSM impairs glutamate uptake in astrocytes and thereby promotes neuronal excitotoxicity. Methods: Primary cultures of mouse cortical astrocytes, neurons, microglia, and BV2 cell line were used. The expression of glutamate transporters (GLAST/EAAT1 and GLT-1/EAAT2) was investigated using real-time PCR and Western blot, and their activity was assessed by measuring 3H-d-aspartate uptake. Neuronal toxicity was measured using the colorimetric MTT (3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl-) 2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide) assay and immunocytochemistry. A chimeric HIV-1 that infects murine cells (EcoHIV/NL4-3-GFP virus (EcoHIV)) was used to investigate whether the virus induces OSM, OSM receptor (OSMR)-β, glycoprotein 130 (gp130), GLT-1, GLAST (mRNA and protein), and OSM release (ELISA) in cultured BV2 cells, primary microglia, or astrocytes. Statistical analyses of the data were performed using one-way ANOVA (to allow multiple comparisons) and two-tailed Student's t test. Results: OSM treatment (10 ng/mL) time-dependently reduced GLAST and GLT-1 expression and inhibited 3H-d-aspartate uptake in cultured astrocytes in a concentration-dependent manner, an effect prevented by the Janus kinase (JAK)/signal transducers and activators of transcription (STAT)3 inhibitor AG490. Down-regulation of astrocytic glutamate transport by OSM resulted in NMDA receptor-dependent excitotoxicity in cortical neurons. Infection with EcoHIV induced OSM gene expression and protein release in BV2 cells and microglia, but not in astrocytes. Conversely, EcoHIV caused a fivefold increase in OSMR-β mRNA (but not gp130) and protein in astrocytes, but not in microglia, which did not express OSMR-β protein. Finally, astrocytic expression of GLAST gene was unaffected by EcoHIV, whereas GLT-1 mRNA was increased by twofold. Conclusions: We provide first evidence that activation of JAK/STAT3 signaling by OSM inhibits glutamate uptake in astrocytes, which results in neuronal excitotoxicity. Our findings with EcoHIV suggest that targeting OSMR-β signaling in astrocytes might alleviate HIV-1-associated excitotoxicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number144
JournalJournal of Neuroinflammation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 10 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The work of S. Moidunny was partly supported by School of Behavioral and Cognitive Neurosciences (BCN, UMC Groningen) and by National Institutes of Health grants (RO1DA12104, RO1DA022935, RO1DA031202, K05DA033881, 1R01DA034582 and 1R01DA037843 to S. Roy). The work at CNC was supported by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (PTDC/SAU-NEU/108668/2008, UID/NEU/04539/2013 and SFRH/BD/36289/ 2007 to M. Matos) and Santa Casa da Misericordia.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 The Author(s).


  • Astrocytes
  • Excitotoxicity
  • GLT-1
  • Glutamate
  • HIV
  • Interleukin 6
  • NMDA
  • Oncostatin M


Dive into the research topics of 'Oncostatin M promotes excitotoxicity by inhibiting glutamate uptake in astrocytes: Implications in HIV-associated neurotoxicity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this