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J Vis Exp. 2010 Sep 19;(43). pii: 2059. doi: 10.3791/2059.

A thin-skull window technique for chronic two-photon in vivo imaging of murine microglia in models of neuroinflammation.

Author information

  • 1Center for Neural Development and Disease, Department of Neurology, Child Neurology Division, University of Rochester, USA.

Abstract

Traditionally in neuroscience, in vivo two photon imaging of the murine central nervous system has either involved the use of open-skull or thinned-skull preparations. While the open-skull technique is very versatile, it is not optimal for studying microglia because it is invasive and can cause microglial activation. Even though the thinned-skull approach is minimally invasive, the repeated re-thinning of skull required for chronic imaging increases the risks of tissue injury and microglial activation and allows for a limited number of imaging sessions. Here we present a chronic thin-skull window method for monitoring murine microglia in vivo over an extended period of time using two-photon microscopy. We demonstrate how to prepare a stable, accessible, thinned-skull cortical window (TSCW) with an apposed glass coverslip that remains translucent over the course of three weeks of intermittent observation. This TSCW preparation is far more immunologically inert with respect to microglial activation than open craniotomy or repeated skull thinning and allows an arbitrary number of imaging sessions during a time period of weeks. We prepare TSCW in CX₃CR₁ GFP/+ mice to visualize microglia with enhanced green fluorescent protein to ≤150 μm beneath the pial surface. We also show that this preparation can be used in conjunction with stereotactic brain injections of the HIV-1 neurotoxic protein Tat, adjacent to the TSCW, which is capable of inducing durable microgliosis. Therefore, this method is extremely useful for examining changes in microglial morphology and motility over time in the living brain in models of HIV Associated Neurocognitive Disorder (HAND) and other neurodegenerative diseases with a neuroinflammatory component.

PMID:
20972389
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3216629
Free PMC Article
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