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Neuroscience. 1985 Jun;15(2):313-26.

Immunohistochemical localization of macrophages and microglia in the adult and developing mouse brain.


Macrophages and microglia in the developing and adult mouse brain have been identified by immunohistochemical localization of the macrophage-specific antigen F4/80 and monoclonal antibodies to the FcIgG1/2b (2.4G2) and type-three complement (Mac-1) receptors. In the adult mouse there are two classes of F4/80-positive cells; those associated with the choroid plexus, ventricles and leptomeninges and the microglia. The cells bearing Fc and complement receptors are indistinguishable, by their morphology and distribution, from those revealed by F4/80. During development macrophages invade the brain and can be followed through a series of transitional forms as they differentiate to become microglia. Macrophage invasion occurs when naturally dying cells are observed in large numbers and this is consistent with the idea that dying neurons and axons provide a stimulus for macrophage infiltration. Our results provide strong support for the hypothesis that the microglia are derived from monocytes and show that microglia possess receptors which would allow them to play a part in the immune defence of the nervous system.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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