Accumulating evidence indicates that peripheral nerve injury (PNI) activates spinal microglia that are necessary for neuropathic pain. Recent studies using bone marrow (BM) chimeric mice have reported that after PNI, circulating BM-derived cells infiltrate into the spinal cord and differentiate into microglia-like cells. This raises the possibility that the population of spinal microglia after PNI may be heterogeneous. However, the infiltration of BM cells in the spinal cord remains controversial because of experimental adverse effects of strong irradiation used for generating BM chimeric mice. In this study, we evaluated the PNI-induced spinal infiltration of BM-derived cells not only by irradiation-induced myeloablation with various conditioning regimens, but also by parabiosis and mice with genetically labelled microglia, models without irradiation and BM transplantation. Results obtained from these independent approaches provide compelling evidence indicating little contribution of circulating BM-derived cells to the population of spinal microglia after PNI.
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