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Phenotypic clustering: a novel method for microglial morphology analysis

Abstract : Background: Microglial cells are tissue-resident macrophages of the central nervous system. They are extremely dynamic, sensitive to their microenvironment and present a characteristic complex and heterogeneous morphology and distribution within the brain tissue. Many experimental clues highlight a strong link between their morphology and their function in response to aggression. However, due to their complex " dendritic-like " aspect that constitutes the major pool of murine microglial cells and their dense network, precise and powerful morphological studies are not easy to realize and complicate correlation with molecular or clinical parameters. Methods: Using the knock-in mouse model CX3CR1 GFP/+ , we developed a 3D automated confocal tissue imaging system coupled with morphological modelling of many thousands of microglial cells revealing precise and quantitative assessment of major cell features: cell density, cell body area, cytoplasm area and number of primary, secondary and tertiary processes. We determined two morphological criteria that are the complexity index (CI) and the covered environment area (CEA) allowing an innovative approach lying in (i) an accurate and objective study of morphological changes in healthy or pathological condition, (ii) an in situ mapping of the microglial distribution in different neuroanatomical regions and (iii) a study of the clustering of numerous cells, allowing us to discriminate different sub-populations.
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Submitted on : Friday, October 28, 2016 - 12:19:32 PM
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Franck Verdonk, Pascal Roux, Patricia Flamant, Laurence Fiette, Fernando A. Bozza, et al.. Phenotypic clustering: a novel method for microglial morphology analysis. Journal of Neuroinflammation, BioMed Central, 2016, 13 (1), pp.153-. ⟨10.1186/s12974-016-0614-7⟩. ⟨pasteur-01389354⟩

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