Microglia and macrophages are increased in response to ischemia-induced retinopathy in the mouse retina

Michael H. Davies, Joshua P. Eubanks, Michael R. Powers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

107 Scopus citations


Purpose: The ability of microgilal cells (MG) and macrophages (MAC) to release cytokines, induce apoptosis, as well as perform phagocytic functions suggests a possible role in wound healing following oxygen-induced injury. This study was performed to determine the temporal and spatial expression of F4/80 (F4/80+) positive microglia/ macrophages (MG/MAC) in areas of retinal damage in the mouse model of oxygen-induced retinopathy. Methods: C57BL/6 postnatal day 7 (P7) mice were exposed to 75% O2 for 5 days (P12) then allowed to recover in room air. Hyperoxia-exposed (O2) mice (O2 refers to hyperoxia exposure from P7 to P12 only) were sacrificed on P12, P14, P17, and P21 and their eyes were examined. Localization of F4/80+ cells in FITC-dextran-perfused retinas allowed coordinate visualization of retinal vessels and MG/MAC via fluorescence microscopy. BrdU, a cellular proliferation marker, was injected intraperitoneally 1 h prior to sacrifice. Immunostaining was performed for a microglia and macrophage-specific antigen (F4/80) and BrdU. CCL2 (monocyte chemoattractant protein-1; MCP-1) expression was examined by quantitative real time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Results: There was a marked increase (>500%) in MG/MAC in hyperoxia-exposed retinas on P17O2 and P21O2 compared to control retinas. At P17O2, MG/MAC were localized in areas of neovascularization (NV), revealing an intimate relationship between MG/MAC and neovascular tufts. However, P21O2 retinas demonstrated MG/MAC associated with avascular regions in the outer layers of the retina. Immunostaining for F4/80 and BrdU revealed rare co-localization in hyperoxia-exposed retinas. Real time RT-PCR results demonstrated increased expression of CCL2 in P14O2- and P17O2- exposed retinas. Conclusions: Our results suggest that resident retinal microglia proliferation occurs at a low frequency in response to injury in this model. The substantial increase in total F4/80+ cells in hyperoxia-exposed retinas in conjunction with the upregulation of CCL2 is consistent with recruitment of hematogenous macrophages into the retina. The temporal and spatial localization of MG/MAC adjacent to neovascular tufts suggests these cells are modulating the retinal response to ischemia-induced retinopathy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)467-477
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular vision
StatePublished - May 10 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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