Rod microglia: A morphological definition

Samuel E. Taylor, Cristina Morganti-Kossmann, Jonathan Lifshitz, Jenna M. Ziebell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

44 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Brain microglial morphology relates to function, with ramified microglia surveying the micro-environment and amoeboid microglia engulfing debris. One subgroup of microglia, rod microglia, have been observed in a number of pathological conditions, however neither a function nor specific morphology has been defined. Historically, rod microglia have been described intermittently as cells with a sausage-shaped soma and long, thin processes, which align adjacent to neurons. More recently, our group has described rod microglia aligning end-to-end with one another to form trains adjacent to neuronal processes. Confusion in the literature regarding rod microglia arises from some reports referring to the sausage-shaped cell body, while ignoring the spatial distribution of processes. Here, we systematically define the morphological characteristics of rod microglia that form after diffuse brain injury in the rat, which differ morphologically from the spurious rod microglia found in uninjured sham. Rod microglia in the diffuse-injured rat brain show a ratio of 1.79±0.03 cell length:cell width at day 1 post-injury, which increases to 3.35±0.05 at day 7, compared to sham (1.17±0.02). The soma length:width differs only at day 7 post-injury (2.92±0.07 length:width), compared to sham (2.49±0.05). Further analysis indicated that rod microglia may not elongate in cell length but rather narrow in cell width, and retract planar (side) processes. These morphological characteristics serve as a tool for distinguishing rod microglia from other morphologies. The function of rod microglia remains enigmatic; based on morphology we propose origins and functions for rod microglia after acute neurological insult, which may provide biomarkers or therapeutic targets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere97096
JournalPLoS One
Volume9
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 15 2014

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rods (retina)
neuroglia
Microglia
Brain
Carisoprodol
cells
sausages
brain
Rats
rats
Wounds and Injuries
Surveying
Biomarkers
Debris

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

Cite this

Taylor, S. E., Morganti-Kossmann, C., Lifshitz, J., & Ziebell, J. M. (2014). Rod microglia: A morphological definition. PLoS One, 9(5), [e97096]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0097096

Rod microglia : A morphological definition. / Taylor, Samuel E.; Morganti-Kossmann, Cristina; Lifshitz, Jonathan; Ziebell, Jenna M.

In: PLoS One, Vol. 9, No. 5, e97096, 15.05.2014.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Taylor, SE, Morganti-Kossmann, C, Lifshitz, J & Ziebell, JM 2014, 'Rod microglia: A morphological definition', PLoS One, vol. 9, no. 5, e97096. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0097096
Taylor SE, Morganti-Kossmann C, Lifshitz J, Ziebell JM. Rod microglia: A morphological definition. PLoS One. 2014 May 15;9(5). e97096. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0097096
Taylor, Samuel E. ; Morganti-Kossmann, Cristina ; Lifshitz, Jonathan ; Ziebell, Jenna M. / Rod microglia : A morphological definition. In: PLoS One. 2014 ; Vol. 9, No. 5.
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