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We measured the time-dependent morphological changes of microglial cells reacting to ischemic cell damage after transient (2 h) middle cerebral artery occlusion in the rat by means of lectin histochemistry with the B4-isolectin from Griffonia simplicifolia as well as immunohistochemistry with monoclonal antibodies directed against monocyte/microphage (ED1) and major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II (OX-6) antigens. As early as 1 h after onset of reperfusion, microglia were absent in the severely neuronal damaged preoptic area. However, ameboid-like microglia were evident in an adjacent area containing scattered shrunken neurons. Rod, round and ameboid-like microglia were present in the ischemic lesion between 2 to 10 h of reperfusion. Round and ameboid cells became predominant in the ischemic core lesion and were mingled with highly ramified microglia to the boundary at 22 h of reperfusion. Highly ramified microglia were found in an adjacent area containing morphologically intact neurons. Round and ameboid cells were localized to the inner boundary of the ischemic lesion surrounding the infarct zone at 46 of reperfusion. Round and ameboid cells were present throughout the entire ischemic lesion in the infarct zone from 70-166 h of reperfusion. A marked increase in number and in intensity of highly ramified microglial cells were present in the outer boundary of the lesion during this period. In addition, a significant increase in both ED1- and OX-6-immunoreactive cells in the ischemic region was detected after 10 h of reperfusion and persisted up to 166 h of reperfusion. These data demonstrate that microglia exhibit a time dependent change in morphology after reperfusion and that the severity of injury may be reflected in the state of microglial activation.




Zhang, Z., Chopp, M., & Powers, C. (1997). Temporal profile of microglial response following transient (2 h) middle cerebral artery occlusion. Brain Research, 744(2), 189–198. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0006-8993(96)01085-2

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