Exp Neurobiol.  2019 Aug;28(4):458-473. 10.5607/en.2019.28.4.458.

Increased CD68/TGFβ Co-expressing Microglia/Macrophages after Transient Middle Cerebral Artery Occlusion in Rhesus Monkeys

  • 1National Primate Research Center, Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology (KRIBB), Cheongju 28116, Korea. srlee@kribb.re.kr
  • 2Department of Functional Genomics, KRIBB School of Bioscience, Korea University of Science and Technology, Daejeon 34113, Korea.
  • 3Department of Radiology, Chungbuk National University Hospital, Cheongju 28644, Korea. shcha@chungbuk.ac.kr
  • 4School of Life Sciences, BK21 Plus KNU Creative BioResearch Group, Kyungpook National University, Daegu 41566, Korea.
  • 5Department of Physical Therapy, Graduate School of Inje University, Gimhae 50834, Korea.
  • 6Laboratory Animal Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Chonnam National University, Gwangju 61186, Korea.
  • 7Futuristic Animal Resource & Research Center, KRIBB, Cheongju 28116, Korea.
  • 8Primate Resource Center, KRIBB, Jeongeup 56216, Korea.


The function of microglia/macrophages after ischemic stroke is poorly understood. This study examines the role of microglia/macrophages in the focal infarct area after transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) in rhesus monkeys. We measured infarct volume and neurological function by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and non-human primate stroke scale (NHPSS), respectively, to assess temporal changes following MCAO. Activated phagocytic microglia/macrophages were examined by immunohistochemistry in post-mortem brains (n=6 MCAO, n=2 controls) at 3 and 24 hours (acute stage), 2 and 4 weeks (subacute stage), and 4, and 20 months (chronic stage) following MCAO. We found that the infarct volume progressively decreased between 1 and 4 weeks following MCAO, in parallel with the neurological recovery. Greater presence of cluster of differentiation 68 (CD68)-expressing microglia/macrophages was detected in the infarct lesion in the subacute and chronic stage, compared to the acute stage. Surprisingly, 98~99% of transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ) was found colocalized with CD68-expressing cells. CD68-expressing microglia/macrophages, rather than CD206⁺ cells, may exert anti-inflammatory effects by secreting TGFβ after the subacute stage of ischemic stroke. CD68⁺ microglia/macrophages can therefore be used as a potential therapeutic target.


Inflammation; Microglia; Stroke; Macaca mulatta; Transforming growth factor beta

MeSH Terms

Infarction, Middle Cerebral Artery*
Macaca mulatta
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Middle Cerebral Artery*
Transforming Growth Factor beta
Transforming Growth Factor beta
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