Microglia are not exclusively associated with plaque-rich regions of the dentate gyrus in Alzheimer's disease.
The functional significance of microglia found in neuritic plaques in Alzheimer's disease (AD) remains a source of controversy. In the present study, we explored the anatomic relationships between microglia and neuritic plaques in order to determine the potential role of microglia in plaque formation. We chose to study the molecular layer of the hippocampal dentate gyrus, a brain region where plaques have a strong tendency to line up parallel to the adjacent granule cell layer. We found that ferritin-labeled microglia were indeed most numerous in the same distinct band as plaques, but that microglia were relatively more common in the outer molecular layer. The distribution of microglia was more variable than that of plaques. Overall, microglial cell distribution was a relatively poor predictor of plaque distribution, particularly when cases were considered individually. Thus, there must be multiple triggers for microglial cell activation and accumulation in the AD brain, triggers which do not all necessarily lead to neuritic plaque formation.
Roe, MT; Dawson, DV; Hulette, CM; Einstein, G; Crain, BJ
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