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J Neurosci. 2005 Jul 27;25(30):7040-7.

Migration of perilesional microglia after focal brain injury and modulation by CC chemokine receptor 5: an in situ time-lapse confocal imaging study.

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  • 1Medical Scientist Training Program, Division of Neuropathology, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, Virginia 22908, USA.

Erratum in

  • J Neurosci. 2005 Aug 10;25(32):table of contents.


Microglia rapidly become reactive in response to diverse stimuli and are thought to be prominent participants in the pathophysiology of both acute injury and chronic neurological diseases. However, mature microglial reactions to a focal lesion have not been characterized dynamically in adult vertebrate tissue. Here, we present a detailed analysis of long-distance perilesional microglial migration using time-lapse confocal microscopy in acutely isolated living slices from adult brain-injured mice. Extensive migration of perilesional microglia was apparent by 24 h after injury and peaked at 3 d. Average instantaneous migration speeds of approximately 5 microm/min and peak speeds >10 microm/min were observed. Collective, directed migration toward the lesion edge was not observed as might be expected in the presence of chemoattractive gradients. Rather, migration was autonomous and could be modeled as a random walk. Pharmacological blockade of the cysteine-cysteine chemokine receptor 5 reduced migration velocity and the number of perilesional migratory microglia without affecting directional persistence, suggesting a novel role for chemokines in modulation of discrete migratory parameters. Finally, activated microglia in the denervated hippocampal stratum oriens did not migrate extensively, whereas human immunodeficiency virus-1 tat-activated microglia migrated nearly twice as fast as those at the stab lesion, indicating a nonuniform microglial response to different stimuli. Understanding the characteristics and specific molecular mechanisms underlying microglial migration after neural injury could reveal novel targets for therapeutic strategies for modulating neuroinflammation in human diseases.

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