Expression of LFA-1α and ICAM-1 in the developing rat brain: A potential mechanism for the recruitment of microglial cell precursors

Ishar Dalmau, José Miguel Vela, Berta González, Bernardo Castellano

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    35 Citations (Scopus)


    Several studies agree that microglial cells derive from monocytes that infiltrate the central nervous system during development, but the precise mechanism by which these cells enter into the nervous tissue is still unknown. In this way, the aim of the present study was to analyze the expression of two cell adhesion molecules involved in the recruitment of blood leukocytes into tissues, the lymphocyte function-associated antigen- 1α (LFA-1α) and the intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) in the developing rat brain (from E16 to P18). By means of immunohistochemistry, our observations showed that LFA-1α and ICAM-1 were expressed in the developing rat brain with a definite distribution pattern and a characteristic time course of appearance. In the embryonic period, LFA-1α immunoreactivity was displayed not only by intravascular blood cells but also by intraparenchymal round cells with a horseshoe-shaped nucleus, showing the typical morphological features of monocytes. Monocyte-like cells present in the embryonic brain parenchyma often displayed mitotic profiles, LFA-1α immunohistochemistry also revealed the presence of some LFA-1α-positive cells belonging to the ameboid microglial population (mostly in the white matter from E18). In the postnatal period, LFA-α immunoreactivity was displayed by some ameboid microglial cells (P0-P9) and also by some ramified microglia. LFA-1α immunoreactivity observed in ramified microglia was weaker when compared to LFA-1α stained ameboid microglia. In contrast, ICAM-1 immunolabeling during the embryonic period was mainly located in endothelial cells of parenchymal brain blood vessels (principally from day E18). Blood vessels in choroid plexus and meninges also expressed ICAM-1 during the embryonic time. In postnatal animals, ICAM-1 immunoreactivity was found in relation to endothelial cells of blood vessels, but the density of ICAM-1- positive blood vessels was lower than that during the embryonic period. The gradual regulation in the expression of LFA-1α by monocyte-like cells and calls of the microglial lineage, and the expression of ICAM-1 by the brain vasculature strongly suggest that the LFA-1/ICAM-1 system may be a mechanism involved in the entry of microglial cell precursors into the developing rat brain.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)163-170
    JournalDevelopmental Brain Research
    Publication statusPublished - 12 Nov 1997


    • Blood vessel
    • Immunoglohulin superfamily
    • Intercellular adhesion molecule-1
    • Lymphocyte function-associated antigen-1 alpha
    • Tomato lectin histochemistry
    • β -integrin 2


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