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Convergence between Microglia and Peripheral Macrophages Phenotype during Development and Neuroinflammation.


ABSTRACT: Differently from other myeloid cells, microglia derive exclusively from precursors originating within the yolk sac and migrate to the CNS under development, without any contribution from fetal liver or postnatal hematopoiesis. Consistent with their unique ontology, microglia may express specific physiological markers, which have been partly described in recent years. Here we wondered whether profiles distinguishing microglia from peripheral macrophages vary with age and under pathology. To this goal, we profiled transcriptomes of microglia throughout the lifespan and included a parallel comparison with peripheral macrophages under physiological and neuroinflammatory settings using age- and sex-matched wild-type and bone marrow chimera mouse models. This comprehensive approach demonstrated that the phenotypic differentiation between microglia and peripheral macrophages is age-dependent and that peripheral macrophages do express some of the most commonly described microglia-specific markers early during development, such as Fcrls, P2ry12, Tmem119, and Trem2. Further, during chronic neuroinflammation CNS-infiltrating macrophages and not peripheral myeloid cells acquire microglial markers, indicating that the CNS niche may instruct peripheral myeloid cells to gain the phenotype and, presumably, the function of the microglia cell. In conclusion, our data provide further evidence about the plasticity of the myeloid cell and suggest caution in the strict definition and application of microglia-specific markers.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Understanding the respective role of microglia and infiltrating monocytes in neuroinflammatory conditions has recently seemed possible by the identification of a specific microglia signature. Here instead we provide evidence that peripheral macrophages may express some of the most commonly described microglia markers at some developmental stages or pathological conditions, in particular during chronic neuroinflammation. Further, our data support the hypothesis about phenotypic plasticity and convergence among distinct myeloid cells so that they may act as a functional unit rather than as different entities, boosting their mutual functions in different phases of disease. This holds relevant implications in the view of the growing use of myeloid cell therapies to treat brain disease in humans.

SUBMITTER: Grassivaro F 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC6975289 | BioStudies | 2020-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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