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J Immunol. 1995 May 1;154(9):4309-21.

Normal adult ramified microglia separated from other central nervous system macrophages by flow cytometric sorting. Phenotypic differences defined and direct ex vivo antigen presentation to myelin basic protein-reactive CD4+ T cells compared.

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  • 1Centenary Institute of Cancer Medicine and Cell Biology, Sydney, Australia.

Abstract

Ramified microglia in the adult central nervous system (CNS) are the principal glial element up-regulating MHC class I and II expression in response to inflammatory events or neuronal damage. A proportion of these cells also express MHC class II constitutively in the normal CNS. The role of microglia as APCs for CD4+ T cells extravasating into the CNS remains undefined. In this study, using irradiation bone marrow chimeras in CD45-congenic rats, the phenotype CD45lowCD11b/c+ is shown to identify microglial cells specifically within the CNS. Highly purified populations of microglia and nonmicroglial but CNS-associated macrophages (CD45highCD11b/c+) have been obtained directly from the adult CNS, by using flow cytometric sorting. Morphologically, freshly isolated microglia vs other CNS macrophages are quite distinct. Of the two populations recovered from the normal CNS, it is the minority CD45highCD11b/c+ transitional macrophage population, and not microglia, that is the effective APC for experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis-inducing CD4+ myelin basic protein (MBP)-reactive T cells. CD45highCD11b/c+ CNS macrophages also stimulate MBP-reactive T cells without addition of MBP to culture, suggesting presentation of endogenous Ag. This is the first study in which microglia vs other CNS macrophages have been analyzed for APC ability directly from the CNS, with substantial cross-contamination between the two populations eliminated. The heterogeneity of these populations in terms of APC function is clearly demonstrated. Evidence is still lacking that adult CNS microglia have the capacity to interact with and stimulate CD4+ T cells to proliferate or secrete IL-2.

PMID:
7722289
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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