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PLoS One. 2015 Apr 7;10(4):e0122912. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0122912. eCollection 2015.

Characterizing newly repopulated microglia in the adult mouse: impacts on animal behavior, cell morphology, and neuroinflammation.

Author information

1
Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders (UCI MIND), University of California, Irvine, Irvine, California, United States of America.
2
Plexxikon Inc., Berkeley, California, United States of America.

Abstract

Microglia are the primary immune cell in the brain and are postulated to play important roles outside of immunity. Administration of the dual colony-stimulating factor 1 receptor (CSF1R)/c-Kit kinase inhibitor, PLX3397, to adult mice results in the elimination of ~99% of microglia, which remain eliminated for as long as treatment continues. Upon removal of the inhibitor, microglia rapidly repopulate the entire adult brain, stemming from a central nervous system (CNS) resident progenitor cell. Using this method of microglial elimination and repopulation, the role of microglia in both healthy and diseased states can be explored. Here, we examine the responsiveness of newly repopulated microglia to an inflammatory stimulus, as well as determine the impact of these cells on behavior, cognition, and neuroinflammation. Two month-old wild-type mice were placed on either control or PLX3397 diet for 21 d to eliminate microglia. PLX3397 diet was then removed in a subset of animals to allow microglia to repopulate and behavioral testing conducted beginning at 14 d repopulation. Finally, inflammatory profiling of the microglia-repopulated brain in response to lipopolysaccharide (LPS; 0.25 mg/kg) or phosphate buffered saline (PBS) was determined 21 d after inhibitor removal using quantitative real time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), as well as detailed analyses of microglial morphologies. We find mice with repopulated microglia to perform similarly to controls by measures of behavior, cognition, and motor function. Compared to control/resident microglia, repopulated microglia had larger cell bodies and less complex branching in their processes, which resolved over time after inhibitor removal. Inflammatory profiling revealed that the mRNA gene expression of repopulated microglia was similar to normal resident microglia and that these new cells appear functional and responsive to LPS. Overall, these data demonstrate that newly repopulated microglia function similarly to the original resident microglia without any apparent adverse effects in healthy adult mice.

PMID:
25849463
PMCID:
PMC4388515
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0122912
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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