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Neuroscience. 1991;42(1):201-14.

The kinetics and morphological characteristics of the macrophage-microglial response to kainic acid-induced neuronal degeneration.

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Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford, U.K.


Outside the nervous system myelomonocytic cells are known to play an important role in the inflammatory response and tissue repair after injury. In this study we have examined the myelomonocytic response to neuronal destruction following unilateral injection of the excitotoxin kainic acid into the mouse hippocampus. Intrahippocampal injection of kainate induces rapid, synchronous neuronal death. There is no neutrophil recruitment and a delay of at least 48 h before macrophage-microglial cell numbers increase. The microglial reaction in the injected hippocampus consists of altered morphology, a 6-9-fold increase in mononuclear phagocyte cell numbers and enhanced expression of the macrophage-specific plasma membrane antigen, F4/80, assessed immunohistochemically and by Western blotting. Microglia also respond at distant sites related to the projection pathway and terminals of killed pyramidal cells but the reaction varies in cell numbers, kinetics and morphology. The absence of neutrophil recruitment and the delay in an increase in macrophage or microglial cells shows that the CNS differs from other sites in the body with regard to the kinetics and nature of the myelomonocytic cell inflammatory response. The role of mononuclear phagocytes in tissue repair in the CNS remains to be defined.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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