Morphological and ultrastructural features of Iba1-immunolabeled microglial cells in the hippocampal dentate gyrus.
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Microglia are found throughout the central nervous system, respond rapidly to pathology and are involved in several components of the neuroinflammatory response. Iba1 is a marker for microglial cells and previous immunocytochemical studies have utilized this and other microglial-specific antibodies to demonstrate the morphological features of microglial cells at the light microscopic level. However, there is a paucity of studies that have used microglial-specific antibodies to describe the ultrastructural features of microglial cells and their processes. The goal of the present study is to use Iba1 immuno-electron microscopy to elucidate the fine structural features of microglial cells and their processes in the hilar region of the dentate gyrus of adult Sprague-Dawley rats. Iba1-labeled cell bodies were observed adjacent to neurons and capillaries, as well as dispersed in the neuropil. The nuclei of these cells had dense heterochromatin next to the nuclear envelope and lighter chromatin in their center. Iba1-immunolabeling was found within the thin shell of perikaryal cytoplasm that contained the usual organelles, including mitochondria, cisternae of endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi complexes. Iba1-labeled cell bodies also commonly displayed an inclusion body. Iba1-labeled cell bodies gave rise to processes that often had a small side branch arise within 5 mum of the microglial cell body. These data showing "resting" Iba-1 labeled microglial cells in the normal adult rat dentate gyrus provide a basis for comparison with the morphology of microglial cells in disease and injury models where they are activated or phagocytotic.