Neuronal network activity controls microglial process surveillance in awake mice via norepinephrine signaling.
ABSTRACT: Microglia dynamically survey the brain parenchyma. Microglial processes interact with neuronal elements; however, what role neuronal network activity plays in regulating microglial dynamics is not entirely clear. Most studies of microglial dynamics use either slice preparations or in vivo imaging in anesthetized mice. Here we demonstrate that microglia in awake mice have a relatively reduced process area and surveillance territory and that reduced neuronal activity under general anesthesia increases microglial process velocity, extension and territory surveillance. Similarly, reductions in local neuronal activity through sensory deprivation or optogenetic inhibition increase microglial process surveillance. Using pharmacological and chemogenetic approaches, we demonstrate that reduced norepinephrine signaling is necessary for these increases in microglial process surveillance. These findings indicate that under basal physiological conditions, noradrenergic tone in awake mice suppresses microglial process surveillance. Our results emphasize the importance of awake imaging for studying microglia-neuron interactions and demonstrate how neuronal activity influences microglial process dynamics.
Project description:Microglial calcium signaling underlies a number of key physiological and pathological processes in situ, but has not been studied in vivo in awake mice. Using multiple GCaMP6 variants targeted to microglia, we assessed how microglial calcium signaling responds to alterations in neuronal activity across a wide range. We find that only a small subset of microglial somata and processes exhibited spontaneous calcium transients in a chronic window preparation. However, hyperactive shifts in neuronal activity (kainate status epilepticus and CaMKIIa Gq DREADD activation) triggered increased microglial process calcium signaling, often concomitant with process extension. Additionally, hypoactive shifts in neuronal activity (isoflurane anesthesia and CaMKIIa Gi DREADD activation) also increased microglial process calcium signaling. Under hypoactive neuronal conditions, microglia also exhibited process extension and outgrowth with greater calcium signaling. Our work reveals that microglia have highly distinct microdomain signaling, and that processes specifically respond to bi-directional shifts in neuronal activity through increased calcium signaling.
Project description:Microglia are the brain's resident innate immune cells and also have a role in synaptic plasticity. Microglial processes continuously survey the brain parenchyma, interact with synaptic elements and maintain tissue homeostasis. However, the mechanisms that control surveillance and its role in synaptic plasticity are poorly understood. Microglial dynamics in vivo have been primarily studied in anesthetized animals. Here we report that microglial surveillance and injury response are reduced in awake mice as compared to anesthetized mice, suggesting that arousal state modulates microglial function. Pharmacologic stimulation of ?2-adrenergic receptors recapitulated these observations and disrupted experience-dependent plasticity, and these effects required the presence of ?2-adrenergic receptors in microglia. These results indicate that microglial roles in surveillance and synaptic plasticity in the mouse brain are modulated by noradrenergic tone fluctuations between arousal states and emphasize the need to understand the effect of disruptions of adrenergic signaling in neurodevelopment and neuropathology.
Project description:Microglia, the resident immune cells of the central nervous system, exist in either a "resting" state associated with physiological tissue surveillance or an "activated" state in neuroinflammation. We recently showed that ATP is the primary chemoattractor to tissue damage in vivo and elicits opposite effects on the motility of activated microglia in vitro through activation of adenosine A2A receptors. However, whether systemic inflammation affects microglial responses to tissue damage in vivo remains largely unknown. Using in vivo two-photon imaging of mice, we show that injection of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) at levels that can produce both clear neuroinflammation and some features of sepsis significantly reduced the rate of microglial response to laser-induced ablation injury in vivo. Under proinflammatory conditions, microglial processes initially retracted from the ablation site, but subsequently moved toward and engulfed the damaged area. Analyzing the process dynamics in 3D cultures of primary microglia indicated that only A2A , but not A1 or A3 receptors, mediate process retraction in LPS-activated microglia. The A2A receptor antagonists caffeine and preladenant reduced adenosine-mediated process retraction in activated microglia in vitro. Finally, administration of preladenant before induction of laser ablation in vivo accelerated the microglial response to injury following systemic inflammation. The regulation of rapid microglial responses to sites of injury by A2A receptors could have implications for their ability to respond to the neuronal death occurring under conditions of neuroinflammation in neurodegenerative disorders.
Project description:Microglia survey and directly contact neurons in both healthy and damaged brain, but the mechanisms and functional consequences of these contacts are not yet fully elucidated. Combining two-photon imaging and patch clamping, we have developed an acute experimental model for studying the role of microglia in CNS excitotoxicity induced by neuronal hyperactivity. Our model allows us to simultaneously examine the effects of repetitive supramaximal stimulation on axonal morphology, neuronal membrane potential, and microglial migration, using cortical brain slices from Iba-1 eGFP mice. We demonstrate that microglia exert an acute and highly localized neuroprotective action under conditions of neuronal hyperactivity. Evoking repetitive action potentials in individual layer 2/3 pyramidal neurons elicited swelling of axons, but not dendrites, which was accompanied by a large, sustained depolarization of soma membrane potential. Microglial processes migrated to these swollen axons in a mechanism involving both ATP and glutamate release via volume-activated anion channels. This migration was followed by intensive microglial wrapping of affected axons and, in some cases, the removal of axonal debris that induced a rapid soma membrane repolarization back to resting potentials. When the microglial migration was pharmacologically blocked, the activity-induced depolarization continued until cell death ensued, demonstrating that the microglia-axon contact served to prevent pathological depolarization of the soma and maintain neuronal viability. This is a novel aspect of microglia surveillance: detecting, wrapping, and rescuing neuronal soma from damage due to excessive activity.
Project description:Microglia, the resident immune cells of the brain, are highly ramified and motile and their morphology is strongly linked to their function. Microglia constantly monitor the brain parenchyma and are crucial for maintaining brain homeostasis and fine-tuning neuronal networks. Besides affecting neurons, anesthetics may have wide-ranging effects mediated by non-neuronal cells and in particular microglia. We thus examined the effect of two commonly used anesthetic agents, ketamine/xylazine and barbiturates, on microglial motility and morphology. A combination of two-photon in vivo imaging and electroencephalography (EEG) recordings in unanesthetized and anesthetized mice as well as automated analysis of ex vivo sections were used to assess morphology and dynamics of microglia. We found that administration of ketamine/xylazine and pentobarbital anesthesia resulted in quite distinct EEG profiles. Both anesthetics reduced microglial motility, but only ketamine/xylazine administration led to reduction of microglial complexity in vivo. The change of cellular dynamics in vivo was associated with a region-dependent reduction of several features of microglial cells ex vivo, such as the complexity index and the ramification length, whereas thiopental altered the size of the cytoplasm. Our results show that anesthetics have considerable effects on neuronal activity and microglial morphodynamics and that barbiturates may be a preferred anesthetic agent for the study of microglial morphology. These findings will undoubtedly raise compelling questions about the functional relevance of anesthetics on microglial cells in neuronal physiology and anesthesia-induced neurotoxicity.
Project description:Diets rich in saturated fat produce inflammation, gliosis, and neuronal stress in the mediobasal hypothalamus (MBH). Here, we show that microglia mediate this process and its functional impact. Although microglia and astrocytes accumulate in the MBH of mice fed a diet rich in saturated fatty acids (SFAs), only the microglia undergo inflammatory activation, along with a buildup of hypothalamic SFAs. Enteric gavage specifically with SFAs reproduces microglial activation and neuronal stress in the MBH, and SFA treatment activates murine microglia, but not astrocytes, in culture. Moreover, depleting microglia abrogates SFA-induced inflammation in hypothalamic slices. Remarkably, depleting microglia from the MBH of mice abolishes inflammation and neuronal stress induced by excess SFA consumption, and in this context, microglial depletion enhances leptin signaling and reduces food intake. We thus show that microglia sense SFAs and orchestrate an inflammatory process in the MBH that alters neuronal function when SFA consumption is high.
Project description:Mutations in the enzyme superoxide dismutase-1 (SOD1) cause hereditary variants of the fatal motor neuronal disease Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Pathophysiology of the disease is non-cell-autonomous: neurotoxicity is derived not only from mutant motor neurons but also from mutant neighbouring non-neuronal cells. In vivo imaging by two-photon laser-scanning microscopy was used to compare the role of microglia/macrophage-related neuroinflammation in the CNS and PNS using ALS-linked transgenic SOD1(G93A) mice. These mice contained labeled projection neurons and labeled microglia/macrophages. In the affected lateral spinal cord (in contrast to non-affected dorsal columns), different phases of microglia-mediated inflammation were observed: highly reactive microglial cells in preclinical stages (in 60-day-old mice the reaction to axonal transection was ?180% of control) and morphologically transformed microglia that have lost their function of tissue surveillance and injury-directed response in clinical stages (reaction to axonal transection was lower than 50% of control). Furthermore, unlike CNS microglia, macrophages of the PNS lack any substantial morphological reaction while preclinical degeneration of peripheral motor axons and neuromuscular junctions was observed. We present in vivo evidence for a different inflammatory activity of microglia and macrophages: an aberrant neuroinflammatory response of microglia in the CNS and an apparently mainly neurodegenerative process in the PNS.
Project description:Microglia exhibit multiple, phenotype-dependent motility patterns often triggered by purinergic stimuli. However, little data exist on motility of human microglia in pathological situations. Here we examine motility of microglia stained with a fluorescent lectin in tissue slices from female and male epileptic patients diagnosed with mesial temporal lobe epilepsy or cortical glioma (peritumoral cortex). Microglial shape varied from ramified to amoeboid cells predominantly in regions of high neuronal loss or closer to a tumor. Live imaging revealed unstimulated or purine-induced microglial motilities, including surveillance movements, membrane ruffling, and process extension or retraction. At different concentrations, ADP triggered opposing motilities. Low doses triggered process extension. It was suppressed by P2Y12 receptor antagonists, which also reduced process length and surveillance movements. Higher purine doses caused process retraction and membrane ruffling, which were blocked by joint application of P2Y1 and P2Y13 receptor antagonists. Purinergic effects on motility were similar for all microglia tested. Both amoeboid and ramified cells from mesial temporal lobe epilepsy or peritumoral cortex tissue expressed P2Y12 receptors. A minority of microglia expressed the adenosine A2A receptor, which has been linked with process withdrawal of rodent cells. Laser-mediated tissue damage let us test the functional significance of these effects. Moderate damage induced microglial process extension, which was blocked by P2Y12 receptor antagonists. Overall, the purine-induced motility of human microglia in epileptic tissue is similar to that of rodent microglia in that the P2Y12 receptor initiates process extension. It differs in that retraction is triggered by joint activation of P2Y1/P2Y13 receptors.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Microglial cells are brain-resident immune cells with multiple functions in healthy or diseased brains. These diverse functions are associated with distinct phenotypes, including different microglial shapes. In the rodent, purinergic signaling is associated with changes in cell shape, such as process extension toward tissue damage. However, there are little data on living human microglia, especially in diseased states. We developed a reliable technique to stain microglia from epileptic and glioma patients to examine responses to purines. Low-intensity purinergic stimuli induced process extension, as in rodents. In contrast, high-intensity stimuli triggered a process withdrawal mediated by both P2Y1 and P2Y13 receptors. P2Y1/P2Y13 receptor activation has not previously been linked to microglial morphological changes.
Project description:Extracellular calcium concentrations in the brain fluctuate during neuronal activities and may affect the behavior of brain cells. Microglia are highly dynamic immune cells of the brain. However, the effects of extracellular calcium concentrations on microglial dynamics have not been investigated. Here, we addressed this question in mouse brain slices and in vivo using two-photon microscopy. We serendipitously found that extracellular calcium reduction induced microglial processes to converge at distinct sites, a phenomenon we termed microglial process convergence (MPCs). Our studies revealed that MPCs target neuronal dendrites independent of neuronal action potential firing and is mediated by ATP release and microglial P2Y12 receptors. These results indicate that microglia monitor and interact with neurons during conditions of cerebral calcium reduction in the normal and diseased brain.
Project description:Neuron-microglia interactions have a crucial role in maintaining the neuroimmune system. The balance of neuroimmune system has emerged as an important process in the pathophysiology of depression. However, how neuron-microglia interactions contribute to major depressive disorders has been poorly understood. Herein, we demonstrated that microglia-derived synaptic changes induced antidepressive-like behavior by using microglia-specific signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) knockout (KO) (STAT3fl/fl;LysM-Cre+/-) mice. We found that microglia-specific STAT3 KO mice showed antidepressive-like behavior in the forced swim, tail suspension, sucrose preference, and open-field tests. Surprisingly, the secretion of macrophage colony-stimulating factor (M-CSF) was increased from neuronal cells in the brains of STAT3fl/fl;LysM-Cre+/- mice. Moreover, the phosphorylation of antidepressant-targeting mediators and brain-derived neurotrophic factor expression were increased in the brains of STAT3fl/fl;LysM-Cre+/- mice as well as in neuronal cells in response to M-CSF stimulation. Importantly, the miniature excitatory postsynaptic current frequency in the medial prefrontal cortex was increased in STAT3fl/fl;LysM-Cre+/- mice and in the M-CSF treatment group. Collectively, microglial STAT3 regulates depression-related behaviors via neuronal M-CSF-mediated synaptic activity, suggesting that inhibition of microglial STAT3 might be a new therapeutic strategy for depression.