As microglia become more central to Alzheimer’s research, researchers are seeking better model systems to study their in vivo behavior. In culture, the cells rapidly alter their gene expression, and mouse microglia respond differently to disease than do their human counterparts. Chimeric mice may provide a solution. At the AD/PD meeting held March 27–31 in Lisbon, Portugal, two groups reported that human microglia transferred to mouse brain appeared to maintain their human identity (Apr 2019 conference news).
Now, one of these groups has published their findings. In the July 30 Neuron, researchers led by Mathew Blurton-Jones at the University of California, Irvine, detail their chimeric mouse model, reporting that the transplanted microglia assume transcription states similar to those in human brain, surveil their surroundings, and respond appropriately to injuries and disease. In a mouse model of amyloidosis, human microglia had a distinct genetic response compared to mouse microglia.
- Human microglia retain human gene expression profiles in mouse brain.
- They monitor their environment and activate in response to injury.
- They respond differently to amyloid than do mouse microglia.
Read the full article on the Alz Forum here: https://www.alzforum.org/news/conference-coverage/human-microglia-make-themselves-home-mouse-brain