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J Neuroinflammation. 2007 Dec 20;4:31.

Osteopetrotic (op/op) mice have reduced microglia, no Abeta deposition, and no changes in dopaminergic neurons.

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  • 1Department of Medical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706, USA.



Activation of microglia is a part of the inflammatory response in neurodegenerative diseases but its role in the pathophysiology of these diseases is still unclear. The osteopetrotic (op/op) mouse lacks colony-stimulating factor-1 (CSF-1) and thus has a deficiency in microglia and macrophages. Prior reports have demonstrated that op/op mice deposit amyloid beta (Abeta) plaques, similar to those found in Alzheimer's disease. The purpose of these studies was to confirm this and to determine if the lack of CSF-1 affects the development of dopaminergic neurons and the expression of CD200, a known microglial inhibitory protein.


We examined the central nervous system of op/op mice at 30 days, 60 days and 7 months of age and wildtype littermates at 30 days using immunohistochemistry and histochemistry.


We found a decrease in the number of microglia in 1 month-old op/op mice compared to wildtype (WT) littermates as measured by CD11b, CD45, CD32/16, CD68, CD204 and F4/80 immunoreactivity. Abeta plaques were not detected, while the number of dopaminergic neurons appeared normal. The expression of CD200 appeared to be normal, but there appeared to be a lower expression in the substantia nigra.


In contrast to a prior report we did not detect Abeta deposition in the central nervous system of op/op mice at 30 days, 60 days or 7 months of age and there was a normal number of dopaminergic neurons. This indicates that op/op mice may be useful to examine the effects of microglia on neurodegenerative disease progression by breeding them to different transgenic mouse models. In addition, the lack of CSF-1 does not appear to affect CD200 expression by neurons but we did note a decrease in the substantia nigra of op/op and WT mice, suggesting that this may be a mechanism by which microglia control may be attenuated in this specific area during Parkinson's disease.

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