Thursday, April 21, 2005

Microglia on the Move

On patrol. For 20 minutes, this microglial cell extended (green) and retracted (red) arms in many directions.
CREDIT: Nimmerjahn et al., Science

Basic information about microglia

Movies of Microglia in Motion

Here's the abstract of a recent paper in Science.

Resting Microglial Cells Are Highly Dynamic Surveillants of Brain Parenchyma in Vivo
Axel Nimmerjahn, Frank Kirchhoff, Fritjof Helmchen

Microglial cells represent the immune system of the brain and therefore are critically involved in various injuries and diseases. Little is known about their role in the healthy brain and their immediate reaction to brain damage. Using in vivo two-photon imaging in neocortex, we found that microglial cells are highly active in their presumed resting state, continually surveying their microenvironment with extremely motile processes and protrusions. Furthermore, blood brain barrier disruption provoked immediate and focal activation of microglia, switching their behavior from patrolling to shielding of the injured site. Microglia thus are busy and vigilant housekeepers in adult brain.

Science 10.1126/science.1110647
Copyright © 2005 by The American Association for the Advancement of Science. All rights reserved.
Science Magazine article abstract

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