Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Acta Neuropathol Commun. 2019 Mar 25;7(1):48. doi: 10.1186/s40478-019-0702-x.

Microglia are not required for prion-induced retinal photoreceptor degeneration.

Author information

1
Laboratory of Persistent Viral Diseases, Rocky Mountain Laboratories, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, 903 South Fourth Street, Hamilton, MT, 59840, USA.
2
Department of Ophthalmology, Duke Eye Center, Duke University, Durham, NC, 27710, USA.
3
Laboratory of Persistent Viral Diseases, Rocky Mountain Laboratories, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, 903 South Fourth Street, Hamilton, MT, 59840, USA. bchesebro@niaid.nih.gov.

Abstract

Degeneration of photoreceptors in the retina is a major cause of blindness in humans. Often retinal degeneration is due to inheritance of mutations in genes important in photoreceptor (PR) function, but can also be induced by other events including retinal trauma, microvascular disease, virus infection or prion infection. The onset of apoptosis and degeneration of PR neurons correlates with invasion of the PR cellular areas by microglia or monocytes, suggesting a causal role for these cells in pathogenesis of PR degenerative disease. To study the role of microglia in prion-induced retinal disease, we fed prion-infected mice a CSF-1 receptor blocking drug, PLX5622, to eliminate microglia in vivo, and the effects on retinal degeneration were analyzed over time. In mice not receiving drug, the main inflammatory cells invading the degenerating PR areas were microglia, not monocytes. Administration of PLX5622 was highly effective at ablating microglia in retina. However, lack of microglia during prion infection did not prevent degeneration of PR cells. Therefore, microglia were not required for the PR damage process during prion infection. Indeed, mice lacking microglia had slightly faster onset of PR damage. Similar results were seen in C57BL/10 mice and transgenic mice expressing GFP or RFP on microglia and monocytes, respectively. These results were supported by experiments using prion-infected Cx3cr1 knockout mice without PLX5622 treatment, where microglial expansion in retina was delayed, but PR degeneration was not. Contrary to predictions, microglia were not a causative factor in retinal damage by prion infection. Instead, newly generated PrPSc accumulated around the inner segment region of the PR cells and appeared to correlate with initiation of the pathogenic process in the absence of microglia.

KEYWORDS:

Cx3cr1 knockout; Degeneration; Gliosis; Macrophages; Microglia; Müller cells; PLX5622; Photoreceptors; Prion protein; Prions; Retina; Scrapie

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for BioMed Central Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center