Jmjd3 is essential for the epigenetic modulation of microglia phenotypes in the immune pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease

Y. Tang, T. Li, J. Li, J. Yang, H. Liu, X. J. Zhang, W. Le

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

166 Scopus citations


Classical activation (M1 phenotype) and alternative activation (M2 phenotype) are the two polars of microglial activation states that can produce either detrimental or beneficial effects in the central nervous system (CNS). Harnessing the beneficial properties of microglia cells by modulating their polarization states provides great potential for the treatment of Parkinson's disease (PD). However, the epigenetic mechanism that regulates microglia polarization remains elusive. Here, we reported that histone H3K27me3 demethylase Jumonji domain containing 3 (Jmjd3) was essential for M2 microglia polarization. Suppression of Jmjd3 in N9 microglia inhibited M2 polarization and simultaneously exaggerated M1 microglial inflammatory responses, which led to extensive neuron death in vitro. We also observed that the suppression of Jmjd3 in the substantia nigra (SN) in vivo dramatically caused microglial overactivation and exacerbated dopamine (DA) neuron death in 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1, 2, 3, 6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP)-intoxicated mouse model of PD. Moreover, we showed that the Jmjd3 level was lower in the midbrain of aged mice, which was accompanied by an elevated level of H3K27me3 and an increased ratio of M1 to M2 markers, suggesting that aging is an important factor in switching the microglia phenotypes. Overall, our studies indicate that Jmjd3 is able to enhance the polarization of M2 microglia by modifying histone H3K27me3, and therefore it has a pivotal role in the switch of microglia phenotypes that may contribute to the immune pathogenesis of PD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)369-380
Number of pages12
JournalCell death and differentiation
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2014


  • aging
  • histone H3K27me3 demethylase
  • Jmjd3
  • microglia polarization
  • neuron degeneration
  • Parkinson's disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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