Wild-type microglia do not reverse pathology in mouse models of Rett syndrome

Nature. 2015 May 21;521(7552):E1-4. doi: 10.1038/nature14444.


Rett syndrome (RTT) is a severe neurodevelopmental disorder caused by mutations in the X chromosomal gene Methyl-CpG-binding Protein 2 (MECP2) (1). RTT treatment so far is symptomatic. Mecp2 disruption in mice phenocopies major features of the syndrome (2) that can be reversed upon re-expression of Mecp2 (3. It has recently been reported that transplantation of wild type (WT) bone marrow (BMT) into lethally irradiated Mecp2tm1.1Jae/y mice prevented neurologic decline and early death by restoring microglial phagocytic activity against apoptotic targets (4). Based on this report, clinical trials of BMT for patients with RTT have been initiated (5). We aimed to replicate and extend the BMT experiments in three different RTT mouse models but found that despite robust microglial engraftment, BMT from WT donors did not rescue early death or ameliorate neurologic deficits. Furthermore, early and specific genetic expression of Mecp2 in microglia did not rescue Mecp2-deficient mice. In conclusion our experiments do not support BMT as therapy for RTT.

Publication types

  • Letter

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Progression*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Methyl-CpG-Binding Protein 2 / metabolism*
  • Microglia / cytology*
  • Microglia / physiology*
  • Rett Syndrome / pathology*


  • Methyl-CpG-Binding Protein 2