Modulation of microglial process convergence toward neuronal dendrites by extracellular calcium

Ukpong B. Eyo, Nan Gu, Srijisnu De, Hailong Dong, Jason R. Richardson, Long Jun Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Extracellular calcium concentrations in the brain fluctuate during neuronal activities and may affect the behavior of brain cells. Microglia are highly dynamic immune cells of the brain. However, the effects of extracellular calcium concentrations on microglial dynamics have not been investigated. Here, we addressed this question in mouse brain slices and in vivo using two-photon microscopy. We serendipitously found that extracellular calcium reduction induced microglial processes to converge at distinct sites, a phenomenon we termed microglial process convergence (MPCs). Our studies revealed that MPCs target neuronal dendrites independent of neuronal action potential firing and is mediated by ATP release and microglial P2Y12 receptors. These results indicate that microglia monitor and interact with neurons during conditions of cerebral calcium reduction in the normal and diseased brain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2417-2422
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2015


  • Calcium reduction
  • Microglia
  • Microglial process convergence
  • Neuronal dendrites
  • P2Y12 receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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