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Brain region-specific gene expression profiles in freshly isolated rat microglia

Research group Huitinga
Publication year 2015
Published in Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience
Authors Karlijn J Doorn, John J P Brevé, Benjamin Drukarch, Hendrikus W Boddeke, I. Huitinga, Paul J Lucassen, Anne Marie Van Dam

Microglia are important cells in the brain that can acquire different morphological and functional phenotypes dependent on the local situation they encounter. Knowledge on the region-specific gene signature of microglia may hold valuable clues for microglial functioning in health and disease, e.g., Parkinson’s disease (PD) in which microglial phenotypes differ between affected brain regions. Therefore, we here investigated whether regional differences exist in gene expression profiles of microglia that are isolated from healthy rat brain regions relevant for PD. We used an optimized isolation protocol based on a rapid isolation of microglia from discrete rat gray matter regions using density gradients and fluorescent-activated cell sorting. Application of the present protocol followed by gene expression analysis enabled us to identify subtle differences in region-specific microglial expression profiles and show that the genetic profile of microglia already differs between different brain regions when studied under control conditions. As such, these novel findings imply that brain region-specific microglial gene expression profiles exist that may contribute to the region-specific differences in microglia responsivity during disease conditions, such as seen in, e.g., PD.

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