Now showing items 1-20 of 538

    • A comparative analysis of microglial inducible Cre lines

      Faust, Travis E; Feinberg, Philip A; O'Connor, Ciara; Kawaguchi, Riki; Chan, Andrew; Strasburger, Hayley; Frosch, Maximilian; Boyle, Margaret A; Masuda, Takahiro; Amann, Lukas; et al. (2023-08-26)
      Cre/loxP technology has revolutionized genetic studies and allowed for spatial and temporal control of gene expression in specific cell types. Microglial biology has particularly benefited because microglia historically have been difficult to transduce with virus or electroporation methods for gene delivery. Here, we investigate five of the most widely available microglial inducible Cre lines. We demonstrate varying degrees of recombination efficiency, cell-type specificity, and spontaneous recombination, depending on the Cre line and inter-loxP distance. We also establish best practice guidelines and protocols to measure recombination efficiency, particularly in microglia. There is increasing evidence that microglia are key regulators of neural circuits and major drivers of a broad range of neurological diseases. Reliable manipulation of their function in vivo is of utmost importance. Identifying caveats and benefits of all tools and implementing the most rigorous protocols are crucial to the growth of the field and the development of microglia-based therapeutics.
    • Systems neuroscience: Foraging through serotonin's tangled web

      Yemini, Eviatar (2023-07-24)
      Serotonin signaling is conserved in regulating animal behaviors. A new paper decodes the nonlinear effects of all serotonin receptor combinations on foraging behaviors. The authors introduce a brain-wide multiscale method to dissect receptor dynamics, receptor effects on neural activity, and resulting behavioral changes.
    • Learning Probabilistic Piecewise Rigid Atlases of Model Organisms via Generative Deep Networks

      Nejatbakhsh, Amin; Dey, Neel; Venkatachalam, Vivek; Yemini, Eviatar; Paninski, Liam; Varol, Erdem (2023-06-08)
      Atlases are crucial to imaging statistics as they enable the standardization of inter-subject and inter-population analyses. While existing atlas estimation methods based on fluid/elastic/diffusion registration yield high-quality results for the human brain, these deformation models do not extend to a variety of other challenging areas of neuroscience such as the anatomy of C. elegans worms and fruit flies. To this end, this work presents a general probabilistic deep network-based framework for atlas estimation and registration which can flexibly incorporate various deformation models and levels of keypoint supervision that can be applied to a wide class of model organisms. Of particular relevance, it also develops a deformable piecewise rigid atlas model which is regularized to preserve inter-observation distances between neighbors. These modeling considerations are shown to improve atlas construction and key-point alignment across a diversity of datasets with small sample sizes including neuron positions in C. elegans hermaphrodites, fluorescence microscopy of male C. elegans, and images of fruit fly wings. Code is accessible at
    • Expression of ALS-PFN1 impairs vesicular degradation in iPSC-derived microglia [preprint]

      Funes, Salome; Gadd, Del Hayden; Mosqueda, Michelle; Zhong, Jianjun; Jung, Jonathan; Shankaracharya; Unger, Matthew; Cameron, Debra; Dawes, Pepper; Keagle, Pamela J; et al. (2023-06-01)
      Microglia play a pivotal role in neurodegenerative disease pathogenesis, but the mechanisms underlying microglia dysfunction and toxicity remain to be fully elucidated. To investigate the effect of neurodegenerative disease-linked genes on the intrinsic properties of microglia, we studied microglia-like cells derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), termed iMGs, harboring mutations in profilin-1 (PFN1) that are causative for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). ALS-PFN1 iMGs exhibited lipid dysmetabolism and deficits in phagocytosis, a critical microglia function. Our cumulative data implicate an effect of ALS-linked PFN1 on the autophagy pathway, including enhanced binding of mutant PFN1 to the autophagy signaling molecule PI3P, as an underlying cause of defective phagocytosis in ALS-PFN1 iMGs. Indeed, phagocytic processing was restored in ALS-PFN1 iMGs with Rapamycin, an inducer of autophagic flux. These outcomes demonstrate the utility of iMGs for neurodegenerative disease research and highlight microglia vesicular degradation pathways as potential therapeutic targets for these disorders.
    • Sensitive Timing: A Reappraisal of Chronobiology's Foundational Texts

      Emery, Patrick; Klarsfeld, André; Stanewsky, Ralf; Shafer, Orie T (2023-05-25)
      The origin of experimental chronobiology can be traced to observations made in the 18th and 19th centuries on the sensitive plant Mimosa, which were described in two seminal reports: Jean-Jacques d'Ortous de Mairan's "Observation Botanique" (A Botanical Observation) and Augustin Pyramus de Candolle's "Du sommeil des feuilles" (On the sleep of leaves). Both report observations of the striking daily closing and opening of Mimosa leaves in controlled environments. This review presents translations of both texts with the aim of staying as faithful as possible to the original French texts. We also present the historical context in which these texts were written and link them to subsequent experiments that aimed at testing the veracity of their central conclusions. In particular, we definitely establish that Mairan himself presented his work to the French Royal Academy of Sciences, while the published report of his observation was authored by Fontenelle, the Secretary of the Academy. In addition, we offer a translation of Mairan's own presentation, based on the hand-written minutes of the academy. Finally, we discuss the decades of work on plant rhythms that laid the foundation for modern experimental chronobiology, including translations and discussion of the insightful and prescient reports by Charles François de Cisternay Dufay, Henri Louis Duhamel du Monceau, Johann Gottfried Zinn, and Wilhelm Pfeffer, which describe their efforts to reproduce and extend Mairan's pioneering observations.
    • TrpA1 is a shear stress mechanosensing channel regulating intestinal stem cell proliferation in Drosophila

      Gong, Jiaxin; Nirala, Niraj K; Chen, Jiazhang; Wang, Fei; Gu, Pengyu; Wen, Qi; Ip, Y Tony; Xiang, Yang (2023-05-24)
      Adult stem cells are essential for tissue maintenance and repair. Although genetic pathways for controlling adult stem cells are extensively investigated in various tissues, much less is known about how mechanosensing could regulate adult stem cells and tissue growth. Here, we demonstrate that shear stress sensing regulates intestine stem cell proliferation and epithelial cell number in adult Drosophila. Ca2+ imaging in ex vivo midguts shows that shear stress, but not other mechanical forces, specifically activates enteroendocrine cells among all epithelial cell types. This activation is mediated by transient receptor potential A1 (TrpA1), a Ca2+-permeable channel expressed in enteroendocrine cells. Furthermore, specific disruption of shear stress, but not chemical, sensitivity of TrpA1 markedly reduces proliferation of intestinal stem cells and midgut cell number. Therefore, we propose that shear stress may act as a natural mechanical stimulation to activate TrpA1 in enteroendocrine cells, which, in turn, regulates intestine stem cell behavior.
    • Distinct Th17 effector cytokines differentially promote microglial and blood-brain barrier inflammatory responses during post-infectious encephalitis [preprint]

      Wayne, Charlotte R; Bremner, Luca; Faust, Travis E; Durán-Laforet, Violeta; Ampatey, Nicole; Ho, Sarah J; Feinberg, Philip A; Arvanitis, Panos; Ciric, Bogoljub; Ruan, Chunsheng; et al. (2023-05-09)
      Group A Streptococcus (GAS) infections can cause neuropsychiatric sequelae in children due to post-infectious encephalitis. Multiple GAS infections induce migration of Th17 lymphocytes from the nose into the brain, which are critical for microglial activation, blood-brain barrier (BBB) and neural circuit impairment in a mouse disease model. How endothelial cells (ECs) and microglia respond to GAS infections, and which Th17-derived cytokines are essential for these responses are unknown. Using single-cell RNA sequencing and spatial transcriptomics, we found that ECs downregulate BBB genes and microglia upregulate interferon-response, chemokine and antigen-presentation genes after GAS infections. Several microglial-derived chemokines were elevated in patient sera. Administration of a neutralizing antibody against interleukin-17A (IL-17A), but not ablation of granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) in T cells, partially rescued BBB dysfunction and microglial expression of chemokine genes. Thus, IL-17A is critical for neuropsychiatric sequelae of GAS infections and may be targeted to treat these disorders.
    • Cytokines as emerging regulators of central nervous system synapses

      Zipp, Frauke; Bittner, Stefan; Schafer, Dorothy P (2023-05-09)
      Cytokines are key messengers by which immune cells communicate, and they drive many physiological processes, including immune and inflammatory responses. Early discoveries demonstrated that cytokines, such as the interleukin family members and TNF-α, regulate synaptic scaling and plasticity. Still, we continue to learn more about how these traditional immune system cytokines affect neuronal structure and function. Different cytokines shape synaptic function on multiple levels ranging from fine-tuning neurotransmission, to regulating synapse number, to impacting global neuronal networks and complex behavior. These recent findings have cultivated an exciting and growing field centered on the importance of immune system cytokines for regulating synapse and neural network structure and function. Here, we highlight the latest findings related to cytokines in the central nervous system and their regulation of synapse structure and function. Moreover, we explore how these mechanisms are becoming increasingly important to consider in diseases-especially those with a large neuroinflammatory component.
    • TIR-1/SARM1 inhibits axon regeneration and promotes axon degeneration

      Czech, Victoria L; O'Connor, Lauren C; Philippon, Brendan; Norman, Emily; Byrne, Alexandra B (2023-04-21)
      Growth and destruction are central components of the neuronal injury response. Injured axons that are capable of repair, including axons in the mammalian peripheral nervous system and in many invertebrate animals, often regenerate and degenerate on either side of the injury. Here we show that TIR-1/dSarm/SARM1, a key regulator of axon degeneration, also inhibits regeneration of injured motor axons. The increased regeneration in tir-1 mutants is not a secondary consequence of its effects on degeneration, nor is it determined by the NADase activity of TIR-1. Rather, we found that TIR-1 functions cell-autonomously to regulate each of the seemingly opposite processes through distinct interactions with two MAP kinase pathways. On one side of the injury, TIR-1 inhibits axon regeneration by activating the NSY-1/ASK1 MAPK signaling cascade, while on the other side of the injury, TIR-1 simultaneously promotes axon degeneration by interacting with the DLK-1 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling cascade. In parallel, we found that the ability to cell-intrinsically inhibit axon regeneration is conserved in human SARM1. Our finding that TIR-1/SARM1 regulates axon regeneration provides critical insight into how axons coordinate a multidimensional response to injury, consequently informing approaches to manipulate the response toward repair.
    • Intravital Imaging of Fluorescent Protein Expression in Mice with a Closed-Skull Traumatic Brain Injury and Cranial Window Using a Two-Photon Microscope

      Zhong, Jianjun; Gunner, Georgia; Henninger, Nils; Schafer, Dorothy P; Bosco, Daryl A (2023-04-21)
      The goal of this protocol is to demonstrate how to longitudinally visualize the expression and localization of a protein of interest within specific cell types of an animal's brain, upon exposure to exogenous stimuli. Here, the administration of a closed-skull traumatic brain injury (TBI) and simultaneous implantation of a cranial window for subsequent longitudinal intravital imaging in mice is shown. Mice are intracranially injected with an adeno-associated virus (AAV) expressing enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) under a neuronal specific promoter. After 2 to 4 weeks, the mice are subjected to a repetitive TBI using a weight drop device over the AAV injection location. Within the same surgical session, the mice are implanted with a metal headpost and then a glass cranial window over the TBI impacting site. The expression and cellular localization of EGFP is examined using a two-photon microscope in the same brain region exposed to trauma over the course of months.
    • Gliotransmission and adenosine signaling promote axon regeneration

      Wang, Fei; Ruppell, Kendra Takle; Zhou, Songlin; Qu, Yun; Gong, Jiaxin; Shang, Ye; Wu, Jinglin; Liu, Xin; Diao, Wenlin; Li, Yi; et al. (2023-04-06)
      How glia control axon regeneration remains incompletely understood. Here, we investigate glial regulation of regenerative ability differences of closely related Drosophila larval sensory neuron subtypes. Axotomy elicits Ca2+ signals in ensheathing glia, which activates regenerative neurons through the gliotransmitter adenosine and mounts axon regenerative programs. However, non-regenerative neurons do not respond to glial stimulation or adenosine. Such neuronal subtype-specific responses result from specific expressions of adenosine receptors in regenerative neurons. Disrupting gliotransmission impedes axon regeneration of regenerative neurons, and ectopic adenosine receptor expression in non-regenerative neurons suffices to activate regenerative programs and induce axon regeneration. Furthermore, stimulating gliotransmission or activating the mammalian ortholog of Drosophila adenosine receptors in retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) promotes axon regrowth after optic nerve crush in adult mice. Altogether, our findings demonstrate that gliotransmission orchestrates neuronal subtype-specific axon regeneration in Drosophila and suggest that targeting gliotransmission or adenosine signaling is a strategy for mammalian central nervous system repair.
    • Evidence for RNA or protein transport from somatic tissues to the male reproductive tract in mouse

      Rinaldi, Vera; Messemer, Kathleen; Desevin, Kathleen; Sun, Fengyun; Berry, Bethany C; Kukreja, Shweta; Tapper, Andrew R; Wagers, Amy J; Rando, Oliver J (2023-03-27)
      The development of tools to manipulate the mouse genome, including knockout and transgenic technology, has revolutionized our ability to explore gene function in mammals. Moreover, for genes that are expressed in multiple tissues or at multiple stages of development, the use of tissue-specific expression of the Cre recombinase allows gene function to be perturbed in specific cell types and/or at specific times. However, it is well known that putative tissue-specific promoters often drive unanticipated 'off-target' expression. In our efforts to explore the biology of the male reproductive tract, we unexpectedly found that expression of Cre in the central nervous system resulted in recombination in the epididymis, a tissue where sperm mature for ~1-2 weeks following the completion of testicular development. Remarkably, we not only observed reporter expression in the epididymis when Cre expression was driven from neuron-specific transgenes, but also when Cre expression in the brain was induced from an AAV vector carrying a Cre expression construct. A surprisingly wide range of Cre drivers - including six different neuronal promoters as well as the adipose-specific Adipoq Cre promoter - exhibited off-target recombination in the epididymis, with a subset of drivers also exhibiting unexpected activity in other tissues such as the reproductive accessory glands. Using a combination of parabiosis and serum transfer experiments, we find evidence supporting the hypothesis that Cre may be trafficked from its cell of origin to the epididymis through the circulatory system. Together, our findings should motivate caution when interpreting conditional alleles, and suggest the exciting possibility of inter-tissue RNA or protein trafficking in modulation of reproductive biology.
    • Behavioral circatidal rhythms require Bmal1 in Parhyale hawaiensis

      Kwiatkowski, Erica R; Schnytzer, Yisrael; Rosenthal, Joshua J C; Emery, Patrick (2023-03-19)
      Organisms living in the intertidal zone are exposed to a particularly challenging environment. In addition to daily changes in light intensity and seasonal changes in photoperiod and weather patterns, they experience dramatic oscillations in environmental conditions due to the tides. To anticipate tides, and thus optimize their behavior and physiology, animals occupying intertidal ecological niches have acquired circatidal clocks. Although the existence of these clocks has long been known, their underlying molecular components have proven difficult to identify, in large part because of the lack of an intertidal model organism amenable to genetic manipulation. In particular, the relationship between the circatidal and circadian molecular clocks, and the possibility of shared genetic components, has been a long-standing question. Here, we introduce the genetically tractable crustacean Parhyale hawaiensis as a system for the study of circatidal rhythms. First, we show that P. hawaiensis exhibits robust 12.4-h rhythms of locomotion that can be entrained to an artificial tidal regimen and are temperature compensated. Using CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing, we then demonstrate that the core circadian clock gene Bmal1 is required for circatidal rhythms. Our results thus demonstrate that Bmal1 is a molecular link between circatidal and circadian clocks and establish P. hawaiensis as a powerful system to study the molecular mechanisms underlying circatidal rhythms and their entrainment.
    • Lipofuscin-like autofluorescence within microglia and its impact on studying microglial engulfment [preprint]

      Stillman, Jacob M; Lopes, Francisco M; Lin, Jing-Ping; Hu, Kevin; Reich, Daniel S; Schafer, Dorothy P (2023-03-01)
      Engulfment of cellular material and proteins is a key function for microglia, a resident macrophage of the central nervous system (CNS). Among the techniques used to measure microglial engulfment, confocal light microscopy has been used the most extensively. Here, we show that autofluorescence (AF), likely due to lipofuscin and typically associated with aging, can also be detected within microglial lysosomes in the young mouse brain by light microscopy. This lipofuscin-AF signal accumulates first within microglia and increases with age, but it is not exacerbated by amyloid beta-related neurodegeneration. We further show that this lipofuscin-AF signal within microglia can confound the interpretation of antibody-labeled synaptic material within microglia in young adult mice. Finally, we implement a robust strategy to quench AF in mouse, marmoset, and human brain tissue.
    • The choroid plexus links innate immunity to CSF dysregulation in hydrocephalus

      Robert, Stephanie M; Reeves, Benjamin C; Kiziltug, Emre; Duy, Phan Q; Karimy, Jason K; Mansuri, M Shahid; Marlier, Arnaud; Allington, Garrett; Greenberg, Ana B W; DeSpenza, Tyrone; et al. (2023-02-16)
      The choroid plexus (ChP) is the blood-cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) barrier and the primary source of CSF. Acquired hydrocephalus, caused by brain infection or hemorrhage, lacks drug treatments due to obscure pathobiology. Our integrated, multi-omic investigation of post-infectious hydrocephalus (PIH) and post-hemorrhagic hydrocephalus (PHH) models revealed that lipopolysaccharide and blood breakdown products trigger highly similar TLR4-dependent immune responses at the ChP-CSF interface. The resulting CSF "cytokine storm", elicited from peripherally derived and border-associated ChP macrophages, causes increased CSF production from ChP epithelial cells via phospho-activation of the TNF-receptor-associated kinase SPAK, which serves as a regulatory scaffold of a multi-ion transporter protein complex. Genetic or pharmacological immunomodulation prevents PIH and PHH by antagonizing SPAK-dependent CSF hypersecretion. These results reveal the ChP as a dynamic, cellularly heterogeneous tissue with highly regulated immune-secretory capacity, expand our understanding of ChP immune-epithelial cell cross talk, and reframe PIH and PHH as related neuroimmune disorders vulnerable to small molecule pharmacotherapy.
    • Modulation of neuronal excitability by binge alcohol drinking

      Giménez-Gómez, Pablo; Le, Timmy; Martin, Gilles E (2023-02-14)
      Drug use poses a serious threat to health systems throughout the world. The number of consumers rises every year being alcohol the drug of abuse most consumed causing 3 million deaths (5.3% of all deaths) worldwide and 132.6 million disability-adjusted life years. In this review, we present an up-to-date summary about what is known regarding the global impact of binge alcohol drinking on brains and how it affects the development of cognitive functions, as well as the various preclinical models used to probe its effects on the neurobiology of the brain. This will be followed by a detailed report on the state of our current knowledge of the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the effects of binge drinking on neuronal excitability and synaptic plasticity, with an emphasis on brain regions of the meso-cortico limbic neurocircuitry.
    • Neurexins in serotonergic neurons regulate neuronal survival, serotonin transmission, and complex mouse behaviors

      Cheung, Amy; Konno, Kotaro; Imamura, Yuka; Matsui, Aya; Abe, Manabu; Sakimura, Kenji; Sasaoka, Toshikuni; Uemura, Takeshi; Watanabe, Masahiko; Futai, Kensuke (2023-01-25)
      Extensive serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) innervation throughout the brain corroborates 5-HT's modulatory role in numerous cognitive activities. Volume transmission is the major mode for 5-HT transmission but mechanisms underlying 5-HT signaling are still largely unknown. Abnormal brain 5-HT levels and function have been implicated in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Neurexin (Nrxn) genes encode presynaptic cell adhesion molecules important for the regulation of synaptic neurotransmitter release, notably glutamatergic and GABAergic transmission. Mutations in Nrxn genes are associated with neurodevelopmental disorders including ASD. However, the role of Nrxn genes in the 5-HT system is poorly understood. Here, we generated a mouse model with all three Nrxn genes disrupted specifically in 5-HT neurons to study how Nrxns affect 5-HT transmission. Loss of Nrxns in 5-HT neurons reduced the number of serotonin neurons in the early postnatal stage, impaired 5-HT release, and decreased 5-HT release sites and serotonin transporter expression. Furthermore, 5-HT neuron-specific Nrxn knockout reduced sociability and increased depressive-like behavior. Our results highlight functional roles for Nrxns in 5-HT neurotransmission, 5-HT neuron survival, and the execution of complex behaviors.
    • Viral Tracing Confirms Paranigral Ventral Tegmental Area Dopaminergic Inputs to the Interpeduncular Nucleus Where Dopamine Release Encodes Motivated Exploration

      Molas, Susanna; Zhao-Shea, Rubing; Freels, Timothy G; Tapper, Andrew R (2023-01-12)
      Midbrain dopaminergic (DAergic) neurons of the ventral tegmental area (VTA) are engaged by rewarding stimuli and encode reward prediction error to update goal-directed learning. However, recent data indicate that VTA DAergic neurons are functionally heterogeneous with emerging roles in aversive signaling, salience, and novelty, based in part on anatomic location and projection, highlighting a need to functionally characterize the repertoire of VTA DAergic efferents in motivated behavior. Previous work identifying a mesointerpeduncular circuit consisting of VTA DAergic neurons projecting to the interpeduncular nucleus (IPN), a midbrain area implicated in aversion, anxiety-like behavior, and familiarity, has recently come into question. To verify the existence of this circuit, we combined presynaptic targeted and retrograde viral tracing in the dopamine transporter-Cre mouse line. Consistent with previous reports, synaptic tracing revealed that axon terminals from the VTA innervate the caudal IPN; whereas, retrograde tracing revealed DAergic VTA neurons, predominantly in the paranigral region, project to the nucleus accumbens shell, as well as the IPN. To test whether functional DAergic neurotransmission exists in the IPN, we expressed the genetically encoded DA sensor, dLight 1.2, in the IPN of C57BL/6J mice and measured IPN DA signals in vivo during social and anxiety-like behavior using fiber photometry. We observed an increase in IPN DA signal during social investigation of a novel but not familiar conspecific and during exploration of the anxiogenic open arms of the elevated plus maze. Together, these data confirm VTA DAergic neuron projections to the IPN and implicate this circuit in encoding motivated exploration.
    • Presynaptic Gq-coupled receptors drive biphasic dopamine transporter trafficking that modulates dopamine clearance and motor function

      Kearney, Patrick J; Bolden, Nicholas C; Kahuno, Elizabeth; Conklin, Tucker L; Martin, Gilles E; Lubec, Gert; Melikian, Haley E (2023-01-12)
      Extracellular dopamine (DA) levels are constrained by the presynaptic DA transporter (DAT), a major psychostimulant target. Despite its necessity for DA neurotransmission, DAT regulation in situ is poorly understood, and it is unknown whether regulated DAT trafficking impacts dopaminergic signaling and/or behaviors. Leveraging chemogenetics and conditional gene silencing, we found that activating presynaptic Gq-coupled receptors, either hM3Dq or mGlu5, drove rapid biphasic DAT membrane trafficking in ex vivo striatal slices, with region-specific differences between ventral and dorsal striata. DAT insertion required D2 DA autoreceptors and intact retromer, whereas DAT retrieval required PKC activation and Rit2. Ex vivo voltammetric studies revealed that DAT trafficking impacts DA clearance. Furthermore, dopaminergic mGlu5 silencing elevated DAT surface expression and abolished motor learning, which was rescued by inhibiting DAT with a subthreshold CE-158 dose. We discovered that presynaptic DAT trafficking is complex, multimodal, and region specific, and for the first time, we identified cell autonomous mechanisms that govern presynaptic DAT tone. Importantly, the findings are consistent with a role for regulated DAT trafficking in DA clearance and motor function.
    • A comparative analysis of microglial inducible Cre lines [preprint]

      Faust, Travis E; Feinberg, Philip A; O'Connor, Ciara; Kawaguchi, Riki; Chan, Andrew; Strasburger, Haley; Masuda, Takahiro; Amann, Lukas; Knobeloch, Klaus-Peter; Prinz, Marco; et al. (2023-01-09)
      Cre/LoxP technology has revolutionized genetic studies and allowed for spatial and temporal control of gene expression in specific cell types. The field of microglial biology has particularly benefited from this technology as microglia have historically been difficult to transduce with virus or electroporation methods for gene delivery. Here, we interrogate four of the most widely available microglial inducible Cre lines. We demonstrate varying degrees of recombination efficiency and spontaneous recombination, depending on the Cre line and loxP distance. We also establish best practice guidelines and protocols to measure recombination efficiency in microglia, which could be extended to other cell types. There is increasing evidence that microglia are key regulators of neural circuit structure and function. Microglia are also major drivers of a broad range of neurological diseases. Thus, reliable manipulation of their function in vivo is of utmost importance. Identifying caveats and benefits of all tools and implementing the most rigorous protocols are crucial to the growth of the field of microglial biology and the development of microglia-based therapeutics.