Infiltrating cells from host brain restore the microglial population in grafted cortical tissue

Sci Rep. 2016 Sep 12;6:33080. doi: 10.1038/srep33080.


Transplantation of embryonic cortical tissue is considered as a promising therapy for brain injury. Grafted neurons can reestablish neuronal network and improve cortical function of the host brain. Microglia is a key player in regulating neuronal survival and plasticity, but its activation and dynamics in grafted cortical tissue remain unknown. Using two-photon intravital imaging and parabiotic model, here we investigated the proliferation and source of microglia in the donor region by transplanting embryonic cortical tissue into adult cortex. Live imaging showed that the endogenous microglia of the grafted tissue were rapidly lost after transplantation. Instead, host-derived microglia infiltrated and colonized the graft. Parabiotic model suggested that the main source of infiltrating cells is the parenchyma of the host brain. Colonized microglia proliferated and experienced an extensive morphological transition and eventually differentiated into resting ramified morphology. Collectively, these results demonstrated that donor tissue has little contribution to the activated microglia and host brain controls the microglial population in the graft.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Tissue Transplantation*
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cerebral Cortex / cytology
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / transplantation*
  • Female
  • Fetal Tissue Transplantation*
  • Male
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Microglia / cytology
  • Microglia / physiology*