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      Microglia in Alzheimer’s disease

      , ,

      The Journal of Cell Biology

      The Rockefeller University Press

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          Abstract

          Hansen et al. review the potential dual helpful and harmful roles of microglia in the development and progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

          Abstract

          Proliferation and activation of microglia in the brain, concentrated around amyloid plaques, is a prominent feature of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Human genetics data point to a key role for microglia in the pathogenesis of AD. The majority of risk genes for AD are highly expressed (and many are selectively expressed) by microglia in the brain. There is mounting evidence that microglia protect against the incidence of AD, as impaired microglial activities and altered microglial responses to β-amyloid are associated with increased AD risk. On the other hand, there is also abundant evidence that activated microglia can be harmful to neurons. Microglia can mediate synapse loss by engulfment of synapses, likely via a complement-dependent mechanism; they can also exacerbate tau pathology and secrete inflammatory factors that can injure neurons directly or via activation of neurotoxic astrocytes. Gene expression profiles indicate multiple states of microglial activation in neurodegenerative disease settings, which might explain the disparate roles of microglia in the development and progression of AD pathology.

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          Most cited references 180

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          Resting microglial cells are highly dynamic surveillants of brain parenchyma in vivo.

          Microglial cells represent the immune system of the mammalian 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. By 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 patroling to shielding of the injured site. Microglia thus are busy and vigilant housekeepers in the adult brain.
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            Meta-analysis of 74,046 individuals identifies 11 new susceptibility loci for Alzheimer's disease.

            Eleven susceptibility loci for late-onset Alzheimer's disease (LOAD) were identified by previous studies; however, a large portion of the genetic risk for this disease remains unexplained. We conducted a large, two-stage meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in individuals of European ancestry. In stage 1, we used genotyped and imputed data (7,055,881 SNPs) to perform meta-analysis on 4 previously published GWAS data sets consisting of 17,008 Alzheimer's disease cases and 37,154 controls. In stage 2, 11,632 SNPs were genotyped and tested for association in an independent set of 8,572 Alzheimer's disease cases and 11,312 controls. In addition to the APOE locus (encoding apolipoprotein E), 19 loci reached genome-wide significance (P < 5 × 10(-8)) in the combined stage 1 and stage 2 analysis, of which 11 are newly associated with Alzheimer's disease.
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              Fate mapping analysis reveals that adult microglia derive from primitive macrophages.

              Microglia are the resident macrophages of the central nervous system and are associated with the pathogenesis of many neurodegenerative and brain inflammatory diseases; however, the origin of adult microglia remains controversial. We show that postnatal hematopoietic progenitors do not significantly contribute to microglia homeostasis in the adult brain. In contrast to many macrophage populations, we show that microglia develop in mice that lack colony stimulating factor-1 (CSF-1) but are absent in CSF-1 receptor-deficient mice. In vivo lineage tracing studies established that adult microglia derive from primitive myeloid progenitors that arise before embryonic day 8. These results identify microglia as an ontogenically distinct population in the mononuclear phagocyte system and have implications for the use of embryonically derived microglial progenitors for the treatment of various brain disorders.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                J Cell Biol
                J. Cell Biol
                jcb
                jcb
                The Journal of Cell Biology
                The Rockefeller University Press
                0021-9525
                1540-8140
                5 February 2018
                : 217
                : 2
                : 459-472
                Affiliations
                Department of Neuroscience, Genentech, Inc., South San Francisco, CA
                Author notes
                Correspondence to David V. Hansen: hansen.david@ 123456gene.com ;
                Article
                201709069
                10.1083/jcb.201709069
                5800817
                29196460
                © 2018 Hansen et al.

                This article is distributed under the terms of an Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike–No Mirror Sites license for the first six months after the publication date (see http://www.rupress.org/terms/). After six months it is available under a Creative Commons License (Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike 4.0 International license, as described at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/).

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