by Lihong Zhan, Grietje Krabbe, Fei Du, Ian Jones, Meredith C. Reichert, Maria Telpoukhovskaia, Lay Kodama, Chao Wang, Seo-hyun Cho, Faten Sayed, Yaqiao Li, David Le, Yungui Zhou, Yin Shen, Brian West, Li Gan
Microglia are resident immune cells that play critical roles in maintaining the normal physiology of the central nervous system (CNS). Remarkably, microglia have an intrinsic capacity to repopulate themselves after acute ablation. However, the underlying mechanisms that drive such restoration remain elusive. Here, we characterized microglial repopulation both spatially and temporally following removal via treatment with the colony stimulating factor 1 receptor (CSF1R) inhibitor PLX5622. We show that microglia were replenished via self-renewal, with no contribution from nonmicroglial lineages, including Nestin+ progenitors and the circulating myeloid population. Interestingly, spatial analyses with dual-color labeling revealed that newborn microglia recolonized the parenchyma by forming distinctive clusters that maintained stable territorial boundaries over time, indicating the proximal expansive nature of adult microgliogenesis and the stability of microglia tiling. Temporal transcriptome profiling at different repopulation stages revealed that adult newborn microglia gradually regain steady-state maturity from an immature state that is reminiscent of the neonatal stage and follow a series of maturation programs, including nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB) activation, interferon immune activation, and apoptosis. Importantly, we show that the restoration of microglial homeostatic density requires NF-κB signaling as well as apoptotic egress of excessive cells. In summary, our study reports key events that take place from microgliogenesis to homeostasis reestablishment.