Direct contacts of microglia on myelin sheath and Ranvier’s node in the corpus callosum in rats
Abstract: Over the recent years, it has been found that microglia pseudopodia contact synapses, detect sick ones and prune them, even in adult animals. Myelinated nerves also carry out plasticity in which microglia remove myelin debris by phagocytosis. However, it remains unknown whether microglia explore structures on nerve fibers, such as Ranvier’s node (RN) or myelin sheath, before they become debris. By double or triple staining RNs or myelin sheathes and microglia in healthy rat corpus callosum, this study unveiled direct contacts of microglia pseudopodia with RNs and with para- and inter-nodal myelin sheathes, which was then verified by electron microscopic observations. Our data indicated that microglia also explore unmyelinated nerve fibers. Furthermore, we used the animals with matured white matter; therefore, microglia may be actively involved in plasticity of matured white matter tracts as it does for synapse pruning, instead of only passively phagocytize myelin debris.