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J Comp Neurol. 1998 Jun 8;395(3):342-58.

Regulation of MCSF receptors on microglia in the normal and injured mouse central nervous system: a quantitative immunofluorescence study using confocal laser microscopy.

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Department of Neuromorphology, Max-Planck Institute of Neurobiology, Martinsried, Germany.


The macrophage colony-stimulating factor (MCSF) is a 40-76-kD glycoprotein that plays an important role in the activation and proliferation of microglia both in vitro and in injured neural tissue. Here, we examined the regulation of MCSF receptor (MCSFR) and MCSF in the normal and injured mouse central nervous system (CNS) by using confocal laser microscopy, quantitative immunofluorescence, and reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) techniques. Immunohistochemistry on fixed, floating tissue sections demonstrated low to moderate MCSFR immunoreactivity (MCSFR-IR) on microglia in the gray and white matter throughout the mouse CNS in the forebrain, brainstem, cerebellum, and spinal cord. High levels of MCSFR-IR were restricted to the superficial layer of the spinal cord dorsal horn, substantia nigra, and area postrema, a CNS region that lacks the blood-brain barrier. CNS injury led to a strong and specific increase in MCSFR-IR in the directly injured dorsal forebrain, in the cervical spinal cord (C2) after transection of the sensory, minor occipital nerve, and in the axotomized facial motor nucleus. Further investigation at the mRNA level in the facial nucleus model showed that this increase was accompanied by a rapid induction of the transcript for MCSFR, with a peak 1-2 days after injury, but only a constitutive expression of MCSF-mRNA. In summary, although normal levels of MCSF receptor in most microglia are low, microglial activation is accompanied by a rapid and massive increase. In view of the constitutive expression of MCSF, the early upregulation of the MCSF receptor may play a central role in preparing these macrophage-related cells to take part in the cellular response to CNS injury.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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