Expression of C1q, an early component of the classical complement pathway, has been shown to be induced in neurons in hippocampal slices, following accumulation of exogenous Abeta42. Microglial activation was also detected by surface marker expression and cytokine production. To determine whether C1q induction was correlated with intraneuronal Abeta and/or microglial activation, D-(-)-2-amino-5-phosphonovaleric acid (APV, an NMDA receptor antagonist) and glycine-arginine-glycine-aspartic acid-serine-proline peptide (RGD, an integrin receptor antagonist), which blocks and enhances Abeta42 uptake, respectively, were assessed for their effect on neuronal C1q synthesis and microglial activation. APV inhibited, and RGD enhanced, microglial activation and neuronal C1q expression. However, addition of Abeta10-20 to slice cultures significantly reduced Abeta42 uptake and microglial activation, but did not alter the Abeta42-induced neuronal C1q expression. Furthermore, Abeta10-20 alone triggered C1q production in neurons, demonstrating that neither neuronal Abeta42 accumulation, nor microglial activation is required for neuronal C1q upregulation. These data are compatible with the hypothesis that multiple receptors are involved in Abeta injury and signaling in neurons. Some lead to neuronal C1q induction, whereas other(s) lead to intraneuronal accumulation of Abeta and/or stimulation of microglia.