Enhanced hippocampal neurogenesis in the absence of microglia T cell interaction and microglia activation in the murine running wheel model

Marta Olah, Gao Ping, Alexander H. de Haas, Nieske Brouwer, Peter Meerlo, Eddy A. van der Zee, Knut Biber, Hendrikus W.G.M. Boddeke*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


Recently, activated microglia have been shown to be involved in the regulation of several aspects of neurogenesis under certain experimental conditions both in vitro and in vivo. A neurogenesis supportive microglia phenotype has been suggested to arise from the interaction of microglia with homing encephalitogenic T cells. However, a unified hypothesis regarding the exact nature of microglia activity that is supportive of neurogenesis is yet missing from the field. Our aim was to investigate the connection between microglia activity and adult hippocampal neurogenesis under physiological conditions. To address this question we compared the level of microglia activation in the hippocampus of mice, which had access to a running wheel for 10 days and that of sedentary controls. Suprisingly, despite elevated levels of proliferation of neural precursors and survival of newborn neurons in the dentate gyrus microglia remained in a "resting" state morphologically, antigenically, and at the transcriptional level. Moreover, neither T cells nor MHCII expressing microglia were present in the hippocampal brain parenchyma. Though microglia in the dentate gyrus of the runners proliferated at a higher level than in the sedentary controls, this difference was also present in non-neurogenic sites. Therefore, our findings suggest that classical signs of microglia activation and microglia activation arising from interaction with T cells in particular are not a prerequisite for the activity-induced increase in adult hippocampal neurogenesis in C57B1/6 mice. Thus, our results draw attention on the species and model differences that might exist regarding the regulation of adult hippocampal neurogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1046-1061
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • hippocampus
  • dentate gyrus
  • stem cells
  • neurogenesis
  • cell proliferation
  • cell survival
  • exercise
  • running
  • physical activity
  • microglia
  • T cells
  • CD3
  • CD11b
  • flow cytometry

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