J Neurosci, May 2021

Selective Ablation of BDNF from Microglia Reveals Novel Roles in Self-Renewal and Hippocampal Neurogenesis

Samuel B R Harley, Emily F Willis, Samreen N Shaikh, Daniel G Blackmore, Pankaj Sah, Marc J Ruitenberg, Perry F Bartlett, Jana Vukovic


Microglia, the resident immune cells of the CNS, have emerged as key regulators of neural precursor cell activity in the adult brain. However, the microglia-derived factors that mediate these effects remain largely unknown. In the present study, we investigated a role for microglial brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a neurotrophic factor with well known effects on neuronal survival and plasticity. Surprisingly, we found that selective genetic ablation of BDNF from microglia increased the production of newborn neurons under both physiological and inflammatory conditions (e.g., LPS-induced infection and traumatic brain injury). Genetic ablation of BDNF from microglia otherwise also interfered with self-renewal/proliferation, reducing their overall density. In conclusion, we identify microglial BDNF as an important factor regulating microglia population dynamics and states, which in turn influences neurogenesis under both homeostatic and pathologic conditions


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