Logo Logo

Gnörich, Johannes; Reifschneider, Anika; Wind, Karin; Zatcepin, Artem; Kunte, Sebastian T.; Beumers, Philipp; Bartos, Laura M.; Wiedemann, Thomas; Grosch, Maximilian; Xiang, Xianyuan; Fard, Maryam K.; Ruch, Francois; Werner, Georg; Koehler, Mara; Slemann, Luna; Hummel, Selina; Briel, Nils; Blume, Tanja; Shi, Yuan; Biechele, Gloria; Beyer, Leonie; Eckenweber, Florian; Scheifele, Maximilian; Bartenstein, Peter; Albert, Nathalie L.; Herms, Jochen; Tahirovic, Sabina; Haass, Christian; Capell, Anja; Ziegler, Sibylle; Brendel, Matthias (2023): Depletion and activation of microglia impact metabolic connectivity of the mouse brain. Journal of Neuroinflammation, 20 (1). ISSN 1742-2094

[thumbnail of s12974-023-02735-8.pdf] Published Article

The publication is available under the license Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (9MB)


We aimed to investigate the impact of microglial activity and microglial FDG uptake on metabolic connectivity, since microglial activation states determine FDG–PET alterations. Metabolic connectivity refers to a concept of interacting metabolic brain regions and receives growing interest in approaching complex cerebral metabolic networks in neurodegenerative diseases. However, underlying sources of metabolic connectivity remain to be elucidated.

Materials and methods
We analyzed metabolic networks measured by interregional correlation coefficients (ICCs) of FDG–PET scans in WT mice and in mice with mutations in progranulin (Grn) or triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 (Trem2) knockouts (−/−) as well as in double mutant Grn−/−/Trem2−/− mice. We selected those rodent models as they represent opposite microglial signatures with disease associated microglia in Grn−/− mice and microglia locked in a homeostatic state in Trem2−/− mice; however, both resulting in lower glucose uptake of the brain. The direct influence of microglia on metabolic networks was further determined by microglia depletion using a CSF1R inhibitor in WT mice at two different ages. Within maps of global mean scaled regional FDG uptake, 24 pre-established volumes of interest were applied and assigned to either cortical or subcortical networks. ICCs of all region pairs were calculated and z-transformed prior to group comparisons. FDG uptake of neurons, microglia, and astrocytes was determined in Grn−/− and WT mice via assessment of single cell tracer uptake (scRadiotracing).

Microglia depletion by CSF1R inhibition resulted in a strong decrease of metabolic connectivity defined by decrease of mean cortical ICCs in WT mice at both ages studied (6–7 m; p = 0.0148, 9–10 m; p = 0.0191), when compared to vehicle-treated age-matched WT mice. Grn−/−, Trem2−/− and Grn−/−/Trem2−/− mice all displayed reduced FDG–PET signals when compared to WT mice. However, when analyzing metabolic networks, a distinct increase of ICCs was observed in Grn−/− mice when compared to WT mice in cortical (p < 0.0001) and hippocampal (p < 0.0001) networks. In contrast, Trem2−/− mice did not show significant alterations in metabolic connectivity when compared to WT. Furthermore, the increased metabolic connectivity in Grn−/− mice was completely suppressed in Grn−/−/Trem2−/− mice. Grn−/− mice exhibited a severe loss of neuronal FDG uptake (− 61%, p < 0.0001) which shifted allocation of cellular brain FDG uptake to microglia (42% in Grn−/− vs. 22% in WT).

Presence, absence, and activation of microglia have a strong impact on metabolic connectivity of the mouse brain. Enhanced metabolic connectivity is associated with increased microglial FDG allocation.

View Item
View Item