Image_1_Neurons Expressing Pathological Tau Protein Trigger Dramatic Changes in Microglial Morphology and Dynamics.TIF (1.05 MB)

Image_1_Neurons Expressing Pathological Tau Protein Trigger Dramatic Changes in Microglial Morphology and Dynamics.TIF

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posted on 07.11.2019, 13:37 by Rahma Hassan-Abdi, Alexandre Brenet, Mohamed Bennis, Constantin Yanicostas, Nadia Soussi-Yanicostas

Microglial cells, the resident macrophages of the brain, are important players in the pathological process of numerous neurodegenerative disorders, including tauopathies, a heterogeneous class of diseases characterized by intraneuronal Tau aggregates. However, microglia response in Tau pathologies remains poorly understood. Here, we exploit a genetic zebrafish model of tauopathy, combined with live microglia imaging, to investigate the behavior of microglia in vivo in the disease context. Results show that while microglia were almost immobile and displayed long and highly dynamic branches in a wild-type context, in presence of diseased neurons, cells became highly mobile and displayed morphological changes, with highly mobile cell bodies together with fewer and shorter processes. We also imaged, for the first time to our knowledge, the phagocytosis of apoptotic tauopathic neurons by microglia in vivo and observed that microglia engulfed about as twice materials as in controls. Finally, genetic ablation of microglia in zebrafish tauopathy model significantly increased Tau hyperphosphorylation, suggesting that microglia provide neuroprotection to diseased neurons. Our findings demonstrate for the first time the dynamics of microglia in contact with tauopathic neurons in vivo and open perspectives for the real-time study of microglia in many neuronal diseases.

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