Fate mapping reveals that microglia and recruited monocyte-derived macrophages are definitively distinguishable by phenotype in the retina.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

The recent paradigm shift that microglia are yolk sac-derived, not hematopoietic-derived, is reshaping our knowledge about the isolated role of microglia in CNS diseases, including degenerative conditions of the retina. However, unraveling microglial-specific functions has been hindered by phenotypic overlap of microglia with monocyte-derived macrophages. The latter are differentiated from recruited monocytes in neuroinflammation, including retina. Here we demonstrate the use of fate mapping wherein microglia and monocyte-derived cells are endogenously labeled with different fluorescent reporters. Combining this method with 12-color flow cytometry, we show that these two populations are definitively distinguishable by phenotype in retina. We prove that retinal microglia have a unique CD45(lo) CD11c(lo) F4/80(lo) I-A/I-E(-) signature, conserved in the steady state and during retinal injury. The latter was observed in the widely used light-induced retinal degeneration model and corroborated in other models, including whole-body irradiation/bone-marrow transplantation. The literature contains conflicting observations about whether microglia, including in the retina, increase expression of these markers in neuroinflammation. We show that monocyte-derived macrophages have elevated expression of these surface markers, not microglia. Our resolution of such phenotypic differences may serve as a robust way to help characterize isolated roles of these cells in retinal neuroinflammation and possibly elsewhere in CNS.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • O'Koren, EG; Mathew, R; Saban, DR

Published Date

  • February 9, 2016

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 6 /

Start / End Page

  • 20636 -

PubMed ID

  • 26856416

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC4746646

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2045-2322

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1038/srep20636


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England