Whereas carcinogenesis requires the acquisition of driver mutations in progenitor cells, tumor growth and progression are heavily influenced by the local microenvironment. Previous studies from our laboratory have used Neurofibromatosis-1 (NF1) genetically engineered mice to characterize the role of stromal cells and signals to optic glioma formation and growth. Previously, we have shown that Nf1-/- microglia in the tumor microenvironment are critical cellulardeterminants of optic glioma proliferation. To define the role of microglia in tumor formation and maintenance further, we used CD11b-TK mice, in which resident brain microglia (CD11b+, CD68+, Iba1+, CD45low cells) can be ablated at specific times after ganciclovir administration. Ganciclovir-mediated microglia reduction reduced Nf1-/- optic glioma proliferation during both tumor maintenance and tumor development. We identified the developmental window during which microglia are increased in the Nf1-/- optic nerve and demonstrated that this accumulation reflected delayed microglia dispersion. The increase in microglia in the Nf1-/- optic nerve was associated with reduced expression of the chemokine receptor, CX3CR1, such that reduced Cx3cr1 expression in Cx3cr1-GFP heterozygous knockout mice led to a similarincrease in optic nerve microglia. These results establish a critical role for microglia in the development and maintenance ofNf1 optic glioma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-62
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of neuropathology and experimental neurology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011


  • Astrocytoma
  • Chemokine
  • Fractalkine receptor
  • Microenvironment
  • Optic glioma
  • Stroma


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