Microglia are specialized parenchymal-resident phagocytes of the central nervous system (CNS) that actively support, defend and modulate the neural environment. Dysfunctional microglial responses are thought to worsen CNS diseases; nevertheless, their impact during neuroinflammatory processes remains largely obscure. Here, using a combination of single-cell RNA sequencing and multicolour flow cytometry, we comprehensively profile microglia in the brain of lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-injected mice. By excluding the contribution of other immune CNS-resident and peripheral cells, we show that microglia isolated from LPS-injected mice display a global downregulation of their homeostatic signature together with an upregulation of inflammatory genes. Notably, we identify distinct microglial activated profiles under inflammatory conditions, which greatly differ from neurodegenerative disease-associated profiles. These results provide insights into microglial heterogeneity and establish a resource for the identification of specific phenotypes in CNS disorders, such as neuroinflammatory and neurodegenerative diseases.
Keywords: heterogeneity; lipopolysaccharide; microglia; neuroinflammation; single‐cell RNA‐seq.
© 2018 The Authors. Published under the terms of the CC BY NC ND 4.0 license.