Cerebellar microglia are dynamically unique and survey Purkinje neurons in vivo.
Microglia are the innate immune cells of the central nervous system and are also important participants in normal development and synaptic plasticity. Here, we demonstrate that the microglia of the mouse cerebellum represent a unique population compared to cortical microglia. Microglia are more sparsely distributed within the cerebellum and have a markedly less ramified morphology compared to their cortical counterparts. Using time-lapse in vivo imaging, we found that these differences in distribution and morphology ultimately lead to decreased parenchymal surveillance by cerebellar microglia. We also observed a novel form of somal motility in cerebellar microglia in vivo, which has not been described in cortical populations. We captured microglial interactions with Purkinje neurons in vivo. Cerebellar microglia interact dynamically with both the dendritic arbors and somas of Purkinje neurons. These findings suggest that cerebellar microglia are physiologically distinct from cortical populations and that these differences may ultimately alter how they could contribute to plasticity and disease processes in the cerebellum. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Develop Neurobiol 00: 000-000, 2017.