Characterizing microglia activation: a spatial statistics approach to maximize information extraction

Title: Characterizing microglia activation: a spatial statistics approach to maximize information extraction
Authors: Davis, BM
Salinas-Navarro, M
Cordeiro, MF
Moons, L
De Groef, L
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: Microglia play an important role in the pathology of CNS disorders, however, there remains significant uncertainty about the neuroprotective/degenerative role of these cells due to a lack of techniques to adequately assess their complex behaviour in response to injury. Advancing microscopy techniques, transgenic lines and well-characterized molecular markers, have made histological assessment of microglia populations more accessible. However, there is a distinct lack of tools to adequately extract information from these images to fully characterise microglia behaviour. This, combined with growing economic pressures and the ethical need to minimise the use of laboratory animals, led us to develop tools to maximise the amount of information obtained. This study describes a novel approach, combining image analysis with spatial statistical techniques. In addition to monitoring morphological parameters and global changes in microglia density, nearest neighbour distance, and regularity index, we used cluster analyses based on changes in soma size and roundness to yield novel insights into the behaviour of different microglia phenotypes in a murine optic nerve injury model. These methods should be considered a generic tool to quantitatively assess microglia activation, to profile phenotypic changes into microglia subpopulations, and to map spatial distributions in virtually every CNS region and disease state.
Issue Date: 8-May-2017
Date of Acceptance: 30-Mar-2017
ISSN: 2045-2322
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
Journal / Book Title: Scientific Reports
Volume: 7
Copyright Statement: © 2017 The Author(s). This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit
Keywords: Science & Technology
Multidisciplinary Sciences
Science & Technology - Other Topics
Publication Status: Published
Article Number: 1576
Online Publication Date: 2017-05-08
Appears in Collections:Division of Surgery
Faculty of Medicine

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