The association between laminin and microglial morphology in vitro

Wing Yip Tam, Ngan Pan Bennett Au, Chi Him Eddie Ma*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Microglia are immune cells in the central nervous system (CNS) that contribute to primary innate immune responses. The morphology of microglia is closely associated with their functional activities. The majority of microglial studies have focused on the ramified or amoeboid morphology; however, bipolar/rod-shaped microglia have recently received much attention. Bipolar/rod-shaped microglia form trains with end-to-end alignment in injured brains and retinae, which is proposed as an important mechanism in CNS repair. We previously established a cell culture model system to enrich bipolar/rod-shaped microglia simply by growing primary microglia on scratched poly-D-lysine (PDL)/laminin-coated surfaces. Here, we investigated the role of laminin in morphological changes of microglia. Bipolar/rod-shaped microglia trains were transiently formed on scratched surfaces without PDL/laminin coating, but the microglia alignment disappeared after 3 days in culture. Amoeboid microglia digested the surrounding laminin, and the gene and protein expression of laminin-cleaving genes Adam9 and Ctss was up-regulated. Interestingly, lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced transformation from bipolar/rod-shaped into amoeboid microglia increased the expression of Adam9 and Ctss, and the expression of these genes in LPS-treated amoeboid-enriched cultures remained unchanged. These results indicate a strong association between laminin and morphological transformation of microglia, shedding new light on the role of bipolar/rod-shaped microglia in CNS repair.

Original languageEnglish
Article number28580
Number of pages10
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jun 2016

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