Microglial degeneration in the aging brain--bad news for neurons?
ABSTRACT We have long promulgated the idea that microglial cells serve an entirely beneficial role in the central nervous system (CNS), not only as immunological sentinels to fend off potentially dangerous infections, but also as constitutively neuroprotective glia that help sustain neuronal function in the normal and especially in the injured CNS when microglia become activated. In recent years, we have reported on the presence of degenerating microglial cells, which are prominent in the brains of aged humans and humans with neurodegenerative diseases, and this has led us to propose a hypothesis stating that loss of microglia and microglial neuroprotective functions could, at least in part, account for aging-related neurodegeneration. In the current review, we sum up the many aspects that characterize microglial activation and compare them to those that characterize microglial senescence and degeneration. We also consider the possible role of oxidative stress as a cause of microglial degeneration. We finish up by discussing the role microglial cells play in terms of amyloid clearance and degradation with the underlying idea that removal of amyloid constitutes a microglial neuroprotective function, which may become compromised during aging.
- SourceAvailable from: Marie-Eve Tremblay[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Normal aging is often accompanied by a progressive loss of receptor sensitivity in hearing and vision, whose consequences on cellular function in cortical sensory areas have remained largely unknown. By examining the primary auditory (A1) and visual (V1) cortices in two inbred strains of mice undergoing either age-related loss of audition (C57BL/6J) or vision (CBA/CaJ), we were able to describe cellular and subcellular changes that were associated with normal aging (occurring in A1 and V1 of both strains) or specifically with age-related sensory loss (only in A1 of C57BL/6J or V1 of CBA/CaJ), using immunocytochemical electron microscopy and light microscopy. While the changes were subtle in neurons, glial cells and especially microglia were transformed in aged animals. Microglia became more numerous and irregularly distributed, displayed more variable cell body and process morphologies, occupied smaller territories, and accumulated phagocytic inclusions that often displayed ultrastructural features of synaptic elements. Additionally, evidence of myelination defects were observed, and aged oligodendrocytes became more numerous and were more often encountered in contiguous pairs. Most of these effects were profoundly exacerbated by age-related sensory loss. Together, our results suggest that the age-related alteration of glial cells in sensory cortical areas can be accelerated by activity-driven central mechanisms that result from an age-related loss of peripheral sensitivity. In light of our observations, these age-related changes in sensory function should be considered when investigating cellular, cortical, and behavioral functions throughout the lifespan in these commonly used C57BL/6J and CBA/CaJ mouse models.Glia 04/2012; 60(4):541-58. · 5.07 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: We studied the distribution and expression of translocator protein in the human brain using 11C-[R]-PK-11195 positron emission tomography (PK11195 PET) and evaluated age-related changes. METHODS: A dynamic PK11195 PET scan was performed in 15 normal healthy adults (mean age: 29 +/-8.5 years (range: 20 to 49); 7 males) and 10 children (mean age: 8.8 +/-5.2 years (range: 1.2 to 17); 5 males), who were studied for potential neuroinflammation but showed no focally increased PK11195 binding. The PET images were evaluated by calculating standard uptake values and regional binding potential, based on a simplified reference region model, as well as with a voxel-wise analysis using statistical parametric mapping. RESULTS: PK11195 uptake in the brain is relatively low, compared with the subcortical structures, and symmetrical. The overall pattern of PK11195 distribution in the brain does not change with age. PK11195 uptake was lowest in the frontal-parietal-temporal cortex and highest in the pituitary gland, midbrain, thalamus, basal ganglia, occipital cortex, hippocampus and cerebellum, in descending order. White matter showed negligible PK11195 uptake. Overall, brain PK11195 uptake increased with age, with midbrain and thalamus showing relatively higher increases with age compared with other brain regions. CONCLUSIONS: The brain shows low PK11195 uptake, which is lower in the cortex and cerebellum compared with subcortical structures, suggesting a low level of translocator protein expression. There is no hemispheric asymmetry in PK11195 uptake and the overall pattern of PK11195 distribution in the brain does not change with age. However, brain PK11195 uptake increases with age, with the thalamus and midbrain showing relatively higher increases compared with other brain regions. This increase in uptake suggests an age-related increase in translocator protein expression or the number of cells expressing these receptors or both.Journal of Neuroinflammation 10/2012; 9(1):232. · 4.35 Impact Factor
Dataset: ChenYC2012(TLR4 AD)