. Microglial Cx3cr1 knockout prevents neuron loss in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. Nat Neurosci. 2010 Apr;13(4):411-3. PubMed.

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  1. This paper by Fuhrmann et al. shows elegant two-photon imaging of neurons and microglia in the 3x transgenic model. It is certainly a technical tour de force. The most striking result is that there is neuron loss in this model, which has not been previously described. The numbers are low, however, tens of neurons per cubic millimeter of cortex per month, which is probably much less than 1 percent of the total (YFP-positive neurons are only a subset of neurons). Is this too few to come to a definitive conclusion about the role of CX3CR1 in neurodegeneration? Perhaps, but the best way to address this would be a more low-tech approach in a model with significant neuronal loss. Nonetheless, addressing the role of microglia in the AD brain is important, and these results are certainly intriguing.