Microglial WNT5A supports dendritic spines maturation and neuronal firing

Authors: Yeh H, Woodbury ME, Ingraham Dixie KL, Ikezu T, Ikezu S

Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, Volume 107, 2022

Scientists use Axion’s next-generation Maestro MEA platform to explore the effects of microglial WNT5A on neural activity.

Research has shown that microglia play an important role in neural development and maturation but this relationship is not fully understood. WNT5A, a secreted glycoprotein and neurotropic factor, also contributes to neurodevelopmental processes in unclear ways. In this study, scientists used Axion’s noninvasive Maestro multielectrode array (MEA) platform and other methods to examine the impact of microglial WNT5A on primary cultured mouse neural stem cells in vitro. Overall results demonstrated that WNT5A is highly expressed and secreted by microglia during development and significantly increases dendritic spine density. Findings from MEA studies supported these results, showing that the addition of microglia enhanced neural activity, but the effect was diminished by silencing WNT5A expression. Taken together, the findings suggest that dysfunctional microglia may be key to understanding the pathogenesis of developmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorders and schizophrenia.