The Circle of Life
Description and scientific context:
This image displays activated microglia forming what appears to be a circle in the amygdala of neonatal rats exposed to early chronic stress. We are investigating whether early life stress induces changes in the activation states and morphology of microglia in the developing amygdala, and whether this mediates changes in neuron morphology and/or function. We propose that early life stress decreases microglial activation to reduce synaptic pruning, and thus increase spine density and hyperexcitability of amygdala neurons. Our results suggest that morphological and functional changes in the amygdala of chronically stressed rat pups are associated with increased anxiety and fear behaviors in adulthood.
Specimen and labels:
Iba-1, a marker of microglial activation, is conjugated to Alexa Fluor 568 (RFP signal) to label microglia in a fixed brain slice from a rat amygdala. The nuclei of cells are counterstained in blue with DAPI.
Fluorescent imaging on an Olympus BX63, 40x magnification