Li Pan, Kin-Sang Cho, Xin Wei, Fuyi Xu, Anton Lennikov, Guangan Hu, Jing Tang, Shuai Guo, Julie Chen, Emil Kriukov, Robert Kyle, Farris Elzaridi, Shuhong Jiang, Pierre A Dromel, Michael Young, Petr Baranov, Chi-Wai Do, Robert W Williams, Jianzhu Chen, Lu Lu, Dong Feng Chen | 2023
Microglia shift toward an inflammatory phenotype during aging that is thought to exacerbate age-related neurodegeneration. The molecular and cellular signals that resolve neuroinflammation post-injury are largely undefined. Here, we exploit systems genetics methods based on the extended BXD murine reference family and identify IGFBPL1 as an upstream cis-regulator of microglia-specific genes to switch off inflammation. IGFBPL1 is expressed by mouse and human microglia, and higher levels of its expression resolve lipopolysaccharide-induced neuroinflammation by resetting the transcriptome signature back to a homeostatic state via IGF1R signaling. Conversely, IGFBPL1 deficiency or selective deletion of IGF1R in microglia shifts these cells to an inflammatory landscape and induces early manifestation of brain tauopathy and retinal neurodegeneration. Therapeutic administration of IGFBPL1 drives pro-homeostatic microglia and prevents glaucomatous neurodegeneration and vision loss in mice. These results identify IGFBPL1 as a master driver of the counter-inflammatory microglial modulator that presents an endogenous resolution of neuroinflammation to prevent neurodegeneration in eye and brain.