Macrophages are comprised of resident brain microglia not infiltrating peripheral monocytes acutely after neonatal stroke

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Macrophages can be both beneficial and detrimental after CNS injury. We previously showed rapid accumulation of macrophages in injured immature brain acutely after ischemia-reperfusion. To determine whether these macrophages are microglia or invading monocytes, we subjected post-natal day 7 (P7) rats to transient 3 h middle cerebral artery (MCA) occlusion and used flow cytometry at 24 and 48 h post-reperfusion to distinguish invading monocytes (CD45high/CD11b+) from microglia (CD45low/medium/CD11b+). Inflammatory cytokines and chemokines were determined in plasma, injured and contralateral tissue 1–24 h post-reperfusion using ELISA-based cytokine multiplex assays. At 24 h, the number of CD45+/CD11b+ cells increased 3-fold in injured compared to uninjured brain tissue and CD45 expression shifted from low to medium with less than 10% of the population expressing CD45high. MCA occlusion induced rapid and transient asynchronous increases in the pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-β and chemokines cytokine-induced neutrophil chemoattractant protein 1 (CINC-1) and monocyte-chemoattractant protein 1 (MCP-1), first in systemic circulation and then in injured brain. Double immunofluorescence with cell-type specific markers showed that multiple cell types in the injured brain produce MCP-1. Our findings show that despite profound increases in MCP-1 in injured regions, monocyte infiltration is low and the majority of macrophages in acutely injured regions are microglia.

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