Distinguishing features of microglia- and monocyte-derived macrophages after stroke


  • G. Kronenberg
  • R. Uhlemann
  • N. Richter
  • F. Klempin
  • S. Wegner
  • L. Staerck
  • S. Wolf
  • W. Uckert
  • H. Kettenmann
  • M. Endres
  • K. Gertz


  • Acta Neuropathologica


  • Acta Neuropathol 135 (4): 551


  • After stroke, macrophages in the ischemic brain may be derived from either resident microglia or infiltrating monocytes. Using bone marrow (BM)-chimerism and dual-reporter transgenic fate mapping, we here set out to delimit the responses of either cell type to mild brain ischemia in a mouse model of 30 min transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAo). A discriminatory analysis of gene expression at 7 days post-event yielded 472 transcripts predominantly or exclusively expressed in blood-derived macrophages as well as 970 transcripts for microglia. The differentially regulated genes were further collated with oligodendrocyte, astrocyte, and neuron transcriptomes, resulting in a dataset of microglia- and monocyte-specific genes in the ischemic brain. Functional categories significantly enriched in monocytes included migration, proliferation, and calcium signaling, indicative of strong activation. Whole-cell patch-clamp analysis further confirmed this highly activated state by demonstrating delayed outward K(+) currents selectively in invading cells. Although both cell types displayed a mixture of known phenotypes pointing to the significance of 'intermediate states' in vivo, blood-derived macrophages were generally more skewed toward an M2 neuroprotective phenotype. Finally, we found that decreased engraftment of blood-borne cells in the ischemic brain of chimeras reconstituted with BM from Selplg(-/-) mice resulted in increased lesions at 7 days and worse post-stroke sensorimotor performance. In aggregate, our study establishes crucial differences in activation state between resident microglia and invading macrophages after stroke and identifies unique genomic signatures for either cell type.