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Neuron. 2006 Feb 16;49(4):489-502.

Bone marrow-derived microglia play a critical role in restricting senile plaque formation in Alzheimer's disease.

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Laboratory of Molecular Endocrinology, CHUL Research Center and Department of Anatomy and Physiology, Laval University, 2705 Laurier boul., Qu├ębec G1V 4G2, Canada.


Microglia are the immune cells of the brain. Here we show a massive infiltration of highly ramified and elongated microglia within the core of amyloid plaques in transgenic mouse models of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Many of these cells originate from the bone marrow, and the beta-amyloid-40 and -42 isoforms are able to trigger this chemoattraction. These newly recruited cells also exhibit a specific immune reaction to both exogenous and endogenous beta-amyloid in the brain. Creation of a new AD transgenic mouse that expresses the thymidine kinase protein under the control of the CD11b promoter allowed us to show that blood-derived microglia and not their resident counterparts have the ability to eliminate amyloid deposits by a cell-specific phagocytic mechanism. These bone marrow-derived microglia are thus very efficient in restricting amyloid deposits. Therapeutic strategies aiming to improve their recruitment could potentially lead to a new powerful tool for the elimination of toxic senile plaques.

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