Microglia, the parenchymal tissue macrophages in the brain, surround amyloid plaques in brains of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) but are ineffective at clearing amyloid to mitigate disease progression. Recent studies in mice indicate that microglia are derived exclusively from primitive yolk sac hematopoiesis and self-renew without contribution from ontogenically distinct monocytes/macrophages of definitive adult hematopoietic origin. Using a genetic fate-mapping approach to label cells of definitive hematopoietic origin throughout life span, we discovered that circulating monocytes contribute 6% of plaque-associated macrophages in aged AD mice. Moreover, peripheral monocytes contributed to a higher fraction of macrophages in the choroid plexus, meninges, and perivascular spaces of aged AD mice versus WT control mice, indicating enrichment at potential sites for entry into the brain parenchyma. Splenectomy, which markedly reduced circulating Ly6Chi monocytes, also reduced abundance of plaque-associated macrophages of definitive hematopoietic origin, resulting in increased amyloid plaque load. Together, these results indicate that peripherally derived monocytes invade the brain parenchyma, targeting amyloid plaques to reduce plaque load.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere152565
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 1 2022


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